Why am I finding abstracts instead of full-text articles?
Last Updated: Jun 30, 2020     Views: 119

If you are finding only the abstracts of articles and not the full text, you may be searching in a journal index.

An index is a type of database that offers exhaustive listings of all literature in a specific field but does not necessarily provide the full text of a document online. Some indexes will include a link to the full text of an article if it is available in another database. You can determine if a database is an index by looking for the Indexes & Abstracts category of the Databases page:

  1. Select the Research Database icon on the library homepage.
  2. In the Database Types Filter pull down menu, select the Indexes & Abstracts.
  3. The results will include a list of databases that contain indexes and abstracts (and in some cases full text).

We do not recommend using journal indexes when doing research for short papers. Instead, use a database that contains full text such as EBSCOhost or ProQuest.

So how do I see only full text articles?

If you are searching in a full-text database and still finding abstracts, then it's likely the full-text limiter for that database has been unchecked. Look for a box on either the search page or the results page that says Full Text. Checking this box will limit your search results to only include articles available in full-text.

There are times when it is okay, or even preferable, to uncheck the full-text limiter or to search in a journal index. If you are working on a long-term project or your dissertation research and you need to complete comprehensive research, then you should deselect the full-text limiter and search in indexes that are appropriate for your subject.

If an article that you need is not available in full text through any of our databases, you can request it using the Request a Specific Document form on the library home page.


If you need additional assistance with your research or have another question, please Ask Us!