How do I...?

How do I...?



This guide was developed to house answers to the most commonly-asked questions of librarians at CSUSM. Look along the left-hand side of the page to see if your question is answered here. If it isn't answered or if you have further questions after reviewing the tab, contact the Research Help Desk using the information provided to the right of the page.

...get the full text of an article?

...get the full text of an article?

HDI - get the full text of an article from Get it! at CSUSM

A search for articles in a CSUSM library database has been conducted. You would like to read the article in full.

  • There are different links that you may encounter in our databases which allow you to read the article in full, such as Get it! at CSUSMPDF Full Text, and HTML Full Text.
  • To demonstrate this, a search for an article is shown in the image below. Arrows on the image point out two of the possible links you might encounter: Get it! at CSUSM and PDF Full Text.



Image shows EBSCOhost results list with arrows pointing to , HTML Full Text, PDF Full text and Get it! at CSUSM


If your article shows a Get it! at CSUSM link follow these steps below. If you need PDF Full Text directions scroll down to the next section. 

  • From the article entry OR from the list of article results: Click on the Get it! at CSUSM link. Note: This is a three click process.  



EBSCOhost title showing arrow pointing to Get it! at CSUSM icon at title level

1. You will now be directed to the CSUSM library catalog.

  • Our system works to locate a database that will provide you access to a full text copy of your article (example shown in image below).  
  • Note: occasionally there is NO FULL TEXT available. If so, you can request the full text article via InterLibrary Loan.
  • You will see "Full Text Available at:" besides the databases that provide full text to the articles.


2. Make your second click on the database link provided. You will be taken to an article entry in the named database. 



EBSCOhost result after clicking on the Get it! at CSUSM, shows link to a database that offers


3. From the named database article entry, locate a PDF Full text icon. Click three is on the PDF icon to download a copy of the article in full text. Congratulations, you now have the full text of your desired article.



Image shows database result for article, arrow indicated where to click to obtain full text




Get full text of an article from the PDF Full Text link

If your article shows a PDF Full Text link follow the steps below. 

  1. From the article entry OR from the list of article results: Click on the PDF Full Text link. This will download a PDF full text copy of the article for your use.
    Image shows article result with the icon to get full text, arrow indicates where to click to get article


  1. A second method of obtaining the Full text of the PDF is to click on the title of the article.  You will see the PDF Full Text link on the left hand side.  


Image shows article entry with PDF Full text link, arrow points to link on left hand side of screen



...get an article if the results page says "no full text" available?

...get an article if the results page says "no full text" available?

Clone of HDI - no full text

A search for articles in the CSUSM Library catalog (OneSearch) has been conducted, but the full text of the article you want isn't available through the CSUSM Library. To get the article using Google Scholar or Interlibrary Loan, follow the steps below:


1. When you're searching in the catalog and think the full text of an article isn't available, first make sure that you're logged in with your CSUSM ID and Password. 

image showing how to view an item's availability by signing-in

2. Once you're signed in, if there is still no full text available "Get It" will be displayed under the article.  Click on "Get it."

Image highlighting the location of the Get It link

3. You will be taken to a results page with different options, such as:

  • Search for the article in Google Scholar.
  • Request the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Image highlighting the location of the Get It through ILL and other options for obtaining full-text


4. Searching for the article in Google:

  • Clicking on the link for "Try Google Scholar" will open a new tab in Google Scholar that displays results related to the article you're interested in. The article might be available through Google -- look to see if there is a [PDF] icon next to the individual results.


5. However, chances are that the full text of the article isn't available in Google. In this case, you can request the article through Interlibrary Loan:

  • Click on the link for "Get it through Interlibrary Loan."
  • Sign in to the Interlibrary Loan system (you may have to register if you've never requested anything before).
  • The item information will be filled out for you in the Interlibrary loan screen.
  • Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the button for "Submit Request."


6. Then you're done! You will receive the PDF of the article in a couple of days through your CSUSM email address.

...request a specific article if I can't find it at all in the library databases?

...request a specific article if I can't find it at all in the library databases?

HDI - manual ILL

If you've searched in the library databases and catalog and are unable to locate the full text of an article, you can manually enter the information into our Interlibrary Loan system and we will attempt to obtain the item for you.


1. Make sure you have as much of the following information as possible:

  • article title
  • author name(s)
  • year published
  • inclusive pages
  • journal title
  • volume and issue number
  • DOI


2. Then, access the CSUSM Interlibrary Loan system:

Image showing Interlibrary Loan link under Quick Links on CSUSM Library website



3. Log in to the system with your CSUSM ID/password. If you've never requested an item before, you'll have to register for an account.


4. In the menu on the left hand side of the page, click on the link for the type of item you are trying to request.

Image displaying new request options in the CSUSM Library interlibrary loan system


5. On the next screen, enter as much information as possible. Items marked with an asterisk are required in order to process the request.


6. Once you've entered all the citation information, make sure to scroll down and click on the button to "submit request".

Image showing the "submit request" button in the CSUSM library interlibrary loan system


7. You're done! You will receive updates about your request through your CSUSM email address. If we are able to locate your item, you will receive a PDF in 2-3 business days. If we need more information, we'll contact you to learn more.

...get the full text article from Google Scholar CSUSM?

...get the full text article from Google Scholar CSUSM?

HDI-Google Scholar

  1. Be sure to access Google Scholar @ CSUSM from our library database list.

  • When you're off-campus, Google Scholar will not automatically recognize you as a student with access to full text articles. Use the link above or find the Google Scholar @ CSUSM link on the library databases list to ensure you have access to full text articles.


Image of the main library website with a call out box pointed at the databases: by title link. Call out box reads, "Click here and find Google Scholar @ CSUSM listed under "G." "



Image of section "G" in the database list with Google Scholar @ CSUSM pointed at in a red arrow.



2. After typing in your search terms and getting to the results page, look for the "Get it at CSUSM" links.

  • The "Get it @ CSUSM" links will either be located on the right side of the article title or they will be hidden behind the ">>" symbol below the article information. See both examples below. Clicking on the link will route you back into the library website to find the full text.


Image of and item in the Google Scholar search results that shows the "Get it @ CSUSM" symbol to the right of the article information.



Image of a Google Scholar result with no "Get it @ CSUSM" link visible to the right of the article information. Call out box points to the ">>" symbol underneath the article information and says "Click on the ">>" symbol when the Get it link is missing..



Image of Google Scholar result item with the "Get it @ CSUSM" link showing below the article information.


...find books or articles put on reserve by my professor?

...find books or articles put on reserve by my professor?

HDI-library reserves

  1. To find books, articles, and physical media put on reserve by your professor for a specific course, click the "Library Reserves" link from the main library homepage.

(Note: Most electronic media reserves will be also be available in your Cougar courses.)


Image of the library website homepage with the "course reserves" link highlighted with a red box.



2. This will bring you to a list, organized alphabetically, of those courses with items on reserve at the library. You can either browse for your course by using the alphabet across the top of the page, or you can use the search box to search by course number, course name, or instructor name.



Image of the course reserves screen on the library website with the alphabet highlighted by a callout box for course browsing and the search box highlighted by a callout box.



3. Once you find your course, click on it. You will be asked to sign in with your CSUSM username and password before being brought to the landing page for your library reserves.



Image of course page for reserves items with the callout box text pointing to items and reading, "items on reserve (along with location or link to full text)."


...find a specific article in our library databases?

...find a specific article in our library databases?

HDI - find a specific article in our library database

Follow these steps to find a known article in our library's collections.


  1. Go to the library's website,
  2. Under the OneSearch bar you will find a link called "Looking for a specific article?" Click on the link to launch a form.


Image showing search bar with highlight showing looking for a specific article link


3. Once you open the form you will be asked for information to locate the article. 

  • One way to locate it is to type the exact name of the article title and name of the journal into the form. 
  • The second is to provide the digital object identifier (DOI) number in the form.



Image shows the citation linker form, highlighted areas to be filled out such as title, journal, or DOI#


4. The image below show an example of how to fill out the article title, journal name, and the year of publication. Hit Submit to perform a search for the article.  



Image shows citation linker form with known article title, journal name, and date of publication filled out



  1. If you know the digital object identifier number, enter this as shown. Hit Submit to perform search for the article.  



Image shows the citation linker form with DOI number filled out

    6. Once you hit submit, the computer searches for a match.  Here we show you an entry for an article with two options for obtaining full text of the article. Click one of the hyperlinked database collections to view article.




Image shows the results of a search using the citation linker, article title with link to the databases providing access are shown



7. If you are met with the message that we DO NOT have the article, you will be provided with an option to request the title via Interlibrary Loan. (To do this, first make sure you're signed in with your CSUSM ID/password - then follow the steps in this guide on Requesting an article in full-text.)



...find a specific book in our library catalog?

...find a specific book in our library catalog?

HDI - Title search for book

Follow the steps shown in the sample below to search for your book title.


1. Go to the library's homepage, 

2. From the OneSearch bar, select "Books & More" as shown below.


Image shows library search bar with books & more selected


3. Be sure to change the dropdown to the right of the search bar. Make sure it is a TITLE search.



Image shows the search bar with books & More and also Title selected for searching


4. In the white search box type the TITLE of your book. Take care that you have the correct title and spelling. Click the SEARCH button.



Image shows library search bar with I am Mala as a title search, also shown is where to click search


5. Once the catalog completes its search for your book title you will EITHER see a list of results, OR be told we don't own that title.  If we do have the book, you will either be given a call number with the physical location the book is located at or be given a link to click on if it is an ebook.

  • If you don't see the title you are looking for at the CSUSM library, your next step would be to see if it is available at one of the other CSUs and order it to be sent here through CSU+.  If it's not available through CSU+, you can then attempt to get it through Interlibrary Loan.  If you need assistance with either of these steps, a librarian will be happy to help.



Image shows a result for the search on book title I am Malala


6. To view more details about your book title, click on the hyperlinked title.




Image shows the detailed record for I am Malala book title search, details such as call number and floor are shown


7. The search results and detailed record for the title show that this title is held in two locations, in the 4th floor stacks and at the reserves desk.  


8. To obtain the book, record the floor (books are located on 4th & 5th floors), and the call number.  The call number is needed to find the title on the shelves.  The call number for this book is shown as LC2330 .Y69 2013b and it is on the 4th floor. 


9. View the university library map showing location of books on each floor. For this title look at the 4th floor and where the books beginning with the call number L are located.    


10. Once you locate the book bring it down to the 3rd floor check out desk in the library. For your convenience, view our policies for borrowing books & media at CSUSM. 


11. If you need assistance - Ask a librarian

...request a physical book through CSU+?

...request a physical book through CSU+?

Clone of HDI-CSU+

  1. If you locate a book via the OneSearch catalog and it says "Get It" this means it is NOT currently available at CSUSM. (For directions on how to search for books see: How do I find a Specific Book in our Library?)   

  • Click on "Get it". If on the next screen you see "Get it through CSU+ (allow 2-5 days for delivery)" that means it is available through CSU+, a service that allows you to order books from one of the other 23 CSU campus libraries. It takes approximately 2-5 days to receive books from CSU+. 

  • If instead you see "Get it through InterLibrary Loan"  that means it is not available through CSU+ and you can order it through Interlibrary Loan (always verify it is not available through CSU+ first before using InterLibrary Loan.)


Get it at CSU+



2. To request your book via CSU+, click on the "Get it through CSU+" link.

  • You may need to sign in on the book record page in order to fully see the CSU+ Request button.



Get it through CSU+ link




Sign in for more options



3. The OneSearch catalog will then search the CSU holdings for a copy of the book you are requesting.

  • If a copy of your book is available at a CSU campus, the CSU+ request area will show a green dot and "Item available for request."
  • At the bottom right hand corner of the box, click the green REQUEST button.



Item Available for request and then place request


4. The box will then say "Request Placed."


Request placed


5. You will be notified via email when the book is received by the library and you can pick the book up at the 3rd floor Circulation desk.  Don't forget your Student ID.


6. If you need to view your CSU+ requests, please click on  My Account (left hand side of the main CSUSM Library web page).


CSUSM Library My Account



Requests placed



...request a physical book through Interlibrary Loan?

...request a physical book through Interlibrary Loan?

Clone of HDI-ILL

If there is a book you are looking for that is not available at the CSUSM University Library or through CSU+, you may order it via Interlibrary Loan (ILL).  ILL is a worldwide library borrowing system. Various types of materials can be available via Interlibrary Loan. It takes approximately 2-10 days to receive books from ILL. Follow the steps below on how to order a book via ILL:


1. First, you must double-check its availability at CSUSM and CSU+.


2. There is an Interlibrary Loan form link on the homepage. Click on it.



Getting to ILL account via Quick Links


3. You will be taken to a page where you will be given the choice to click on CSU+ Resource Sharing or Interlibrary Loan. Click on the Interlibrary Loan button.



Interlibrary Loan Blue Box



4. This will take you to the next page where you can click on the link that matches your CSUSM identity: Student, Faculty, or Guest.


5. Enter your Campus Username and password. Press Login.

  • Note: If you do not already have an ILL account set up, you will be required to follow some additional steps to set up an account.



ILL Login CSUSM Identity



Interlibrary Loan Login Page



6. The Main Menu of the ILL form will appear.  Go to the column on the left and choose the link for Book under New Request.



Link to Book Requests in ILL


7. A request form for the book should appear.

  • Fill out as many fields as you can.
  • Double check that all required fields (indicated by a red asterisk) are completed.



Interlibrary Loan Request Page



8. Press “Submit Request” at the bottom of the page.



Interlibrary Loan Submit Request



9. You will be directed to the Interlibrary Loan Menu page. It will have verification of your Interlibrary Loan Request at the top of the page. If verification does not appear, your request did not go through. Try your request again.



Interlibrary Loan Menu Page



10. You will be notified via email when the book is received by the library and you can pick the book up at the 3rd floor Circulation desk. Remember your Student ID card or CSUSM app.


11. If you would like to view your Interlibrary Loan requests, please go to My Account (top Left Hand Corner of the main Library page) and click on Interlibrary Loan.

  • On the Interlibrary Loan Account page, you will be able to view requests, make new manual requests, and view checked out items. Make sure to logoff after you have completed your use of your Interlibrary Loan Account.



Interlibrary Loan Menu Page with Arrows



...know if a journal article is scholarly (peer-reviewed)?

...know if a journal article is scholarly (peer-reviewed)?

HDI - Know if an article is scholarly (peer-reviewed)?

There are several ways to determine whether or not an article is scholarly or peer-reviewed.

1) One way to know that an article is scholarly or peer-reviewed is if the database gives a visual indication as to whether an article is scholarly.  For example, the second image below indicates that the article is scholarly, unlike the first image, which indicates it is from a periodical that is not peer-reviewed.

It's important to note, however, that this visual indication does not definitively mean the article is peer-reviewed.  In fact, some articles published in peer-reviewed journals may not actually be peer-reviewed. For example, book reviews, editorials, and news items do not undergo the same review process as research articles. Therefore, even if the database gives a visual indication that the article is from a peer-reviewed or scholarly journal you still need to ask the questions given below to ensure that it is a scholarly journal article.


This image shows a non peer-reviewed database article.



This image shows a peer reviewed article in the database



2) The purpose of a scholarly article is to inform and disseminate original research to scholars. Readers should ask the following questions when trying to determine if an article is scholarly (peer-reviewed):


  • Who are the authors?: Generally researchers or scholars in the academic discipline and/or field.



Authors in a Scholarly Article


  • How is it written?: Scholarly articles contain vocabulary that is technical and specialized according to discipline; audience is generally scholarly peers in that field of study.




Vocabulary in a scholarly article


  • What does it look like?: Scholarly articles may include quantitative data in the form of graphs, charts, and tables supporting research; delineated sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, and bibliography.




Format of a scholarly article


  • How are the sources cited?: Scholarly articles contain an extensive bibliography and footnotes which are formatted according to research discipline (e.g. MLA - Humanities; APA - Social Sciences, CSE - Sciences).




Cited sources in a scholarly article


...know if a research article is empirical?

...know if a research article is empirical?

HDI - know if a research article is empirical?

Empirical research draws from observed or measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experimentation or observation. Empirical research articles are considered original, primary research. In these types of articles, readers will generally find the following sections organized by IMRaD format (Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion).

  • (I)ntroduction: Includes the research hypotheses and the literature review (current research on or related to the topic).

Introduction section of an empirical article


  • (M)ethods: How the research was conducted, including participants, research design, and measures used.

Methods section of an empirical article


  • (R)esults: What did researchers learn from their study/experiment--this section may include statistical data and research participant quotes.

Results section of an empirical article

  • (D)iscussion:  Research conclusions that state why the study was important and its impact on future research and/or practices.

Discussion section of an empirical article

Also check out:

How to find an empirical research article in PsycInfo (video).

If you need additional assistance, please ask a librarian.

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