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To find journal articles by subject or topic, see How to find journal articles.
What is a citation?
How do I get a citation?
Your instructor or TA may share a citation and ask you to find the article or book it refers to. Other possibilities:
- From a bibliography, also known as references, works cited or further reading. These are lists of sources the author consulted, and are (almost always) found at the end of an academic book, chapter or article (even Wikipedia).
- Tip: Once you have one good resource, the citations in the bibliography will lead you directly to more.
- By searching the SFU Library's databases.
- Not all database searches lead directly to full-text articles -- some will only give you a citation.
- The open web, Google Scholar, or other sources.
- Authors, organisations, and online reference sources (like Wikipedia) may provide full or partial citations.
- Tip: If you find an article online that requires payment before you can read it, check to see if you can get free access through a Library subscription by:
The quick way
Advanced techniques, including the "drill down" method
When Library Search doesn't lead directly to full text, try one of these more advanced approaches:
Using Citation Finder
Citation Finder is especially quick and effective for searching by journal title or DOI.
Articles that are not available online
Not available online? Try one of these strategies:
- A very few journals are available in print or microform only. Most of these are held on the 6th floor of the W.A.C. Bennett Library. For much more information see our guide to Locating journals, magazines, and newspapers.
- If the SFU Library doesn't have a subscription to the journal you need, you may be able to request the article from another library.
- Most journal articles are available online, but most books aren't. See below for tips to make sure the citation is for a journal article and not a chapter in a book:
Journal article or book chapter?
To verify that the citation points to a journal article and not a book chapter, read the citation carefully to figure out what your item is (remember that the citation could refer to an article, a book, a book chapter, part of a conference proceedings, etc.).
|Coren, S. (1999). Do people look like their dogs? Anthrozoos, 12(2), 111-114.||
This citation has a volume number (12) and issue number (2), so the item is a journal article.
The journal title is Anthrozoos.
|Watts, A.G. & Swanson, L.W. (2002). Anatomy of motivation. In H. Pashler (Ed.), Advances in the study of behaviour (pp. 563-631). New York, NY, US: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.||
This citation includes an editor (H. Pashler) and a place of publication (New York), so the item is a book chapter.
The book title is Advances in the study of behaviour.