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BOT 440/540 Field Methods in Vegetation Science

Getting Started

Finding full-text articles

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At several places in the class I ask you to critique the field methods used by published studies in vegetation science. Finding these articles is a challenge if you aren't familiar with the literature in vegetation science, and an extra challenge if you are located off campus. These instructions should help you find the full text of articles that interest you, sometimes right from your local computer.

As an OSU student, you have free electronic access to databases of articles — and sometimes the full text of the articles themselves. There are many resources that can help you find and get the articles you want.

  • Look at the very useful general information in the Valley Library's Biology Research Guide, Botany Research Guide, and Agriculture Research Guide. (As you might imagine, these guides share similarities.)
  • The next step is finding articles. One approach is to use keywords to search comprehensive, online databases for the articles you want. For help with the databases, go to the Research Guides and look under "Finding Articles in Journals." My favorite comprehensive databases are AGRICOLA and Biological Abstracts.
  • Another approach is to browse through the journals. Valley Library has a huge list of E-Journals. If you are not sure which journals to look through, check out Resources for recommendations.
  • A combination approach is JSTOR, an easy to use database of online articles. The only drawback is that JSTOR cannot make articles available for several years (usually 3-5 years), but for earlier articles it is hard to beat. You can either search for a topic or browse through journals. See the special instructions below for using JSTOR.
  • Finally, make use of your Subject Librarian! The library has a research expert for every discipline. Click here for a complete list.

To access the OSU Library resources from off campus, you will need to identify yourself, and maybe change your browser settings. The Library provides technical information about general access.


  • Browse to the JSTOR Web page at OSU
  • Select Search
    1. Enter your search terms
    2. Check the journal boxes for Botany and Ecology
    3. Limit your search to Articles and Full Text Only
    4. Submit your search
  • If all goes well, you should see a list of articles fitting your search criteria
  • Under the listing for each article you'll find options for viewing, printing, and downloading the full text of the article
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