Answered By: Caryl Wyatt Last Updated: Oct 25, 2017 Views: 7
Academic articles in library databases are littered with words like abstract, full-text, and peer-reviewed, and it can all be a bit confusing to understand if you're a first-time researcher.
An abstract is simply a summary of an article. Academic articles can range anywhere from just a few pages to dozens of pages, and an abstract can help a researcher decide if they'd like to read the entire article. Simply skim the abstract to see if it's interesting to you.
If you want to read the entire article, you can then download the full text. Full text can also be a confusing term, but it means that the library has access to the entire article, not just the abstract (summary).
Our databases have indexes (a fancy word for lists) of hundreds of thousands of possible articles about the topic you searched, but the library only pays for access to the full text of a fraction of those articles. If you do a simple search without using any filters, you will likely get results for articles that the database has access to but the library hasn't paid for. You will be able to open the record and read the abstract, but you won't be able to access the entire article. To eliminate any on those abstract-only results, click the checkbox limiter for full text, and you will only retrieve articles that we have full text of.
If you come across an article that we don't have access to, don't despair! We can get it for you from another library. Fill out an interlibrary loan request, and we'll get it to your inbox in a few days.