How to Find Full-Text Articles

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments’ Higher Education e-Digest features links to research citations to help readers stay abreast of the latest relevant research in the field.  However we regret that, because of copyright law, we cannot send full-text journal articles to you, except in cases where copyright does not prohibit such dissemination. 

In some cases, you may find that access to an article’s abstract is sufficient for your needs.  If you’re interested in reading the full article, once you have basic citation information (author(s), title, publication and/or date) for a journal article, news report, or other published piece, there is a good chance that you’ll find a full-text copy online.  More and more often, articles are being posted online shortly after they’re published.  To save yourself time and effort, do a quick Google search for the document, putting the journal article title in quotes.  If that proves unsuccessful, follow the tips below:

Campus-based individuals (prevention workers, faculty, staff, students, etc.)

  • If you are associated with a campus and have library privileges, you’ll be able to search the library’s journal databases to find the full citation and, most likely, an electronic version of the article. 
  • If this proves unsuccessful, your library may subscribe to the hard copy of the journal you need and you can make (or request) a photocopy of the article. 
  • Finally, if all else fails, the reference librarian should be able to request a copy of the article from another library at no cost. 
  • If you’re not sure how to access these databases, find articles of interest, or have other questions, call the reference department at your library.

Community-based individuals (parents, public/private researchers, community initiatives, citizens)

  • For those who do not have access to an academic library system, you may have access to research databases through your hometown or county/parish public library.  Check with your public library reference librarian.  Many public library cardholders can use their library card to gain entry to a library portal from home that gives them full-text access to many academic journals.
  • If this is not an option, ask the reference librarian to request a copy from an academic library within your system.  The library may charge a minimal fee for this interlibrary loan (ILL) request.
  • Finally, most journals offer a per-article purchase option on their website.  Put the journal title in quotes to locate their homepage and navigate to the article of your choice to purchase.

We wish you the best of luck in your search!  If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Kellie Anderson, TA Consultant, at or NCSSLE at

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