Research Basics

Locating a Specific Journal Article

If you have a citation for a specific article you can use Citation Linker to find the full text of that article. Enter the journal title and as much additional information as you have into the form and then click on the purple "Find it!" button. Again, the full text may not be available online, in which case a link to view our print holdings in the catalog will be provided.

Searching for Journal Articles by Topic

For current research on your topic consult the journal literature by using an index or database. Some indexes cover a wide range of disciplines (economics, poltical science, sociology, etc.) and are a good starting place to see what's being written on your topic by scholars from different areas of expertise.

Here are a few good sources to start your research with:

Academic Search Premier (EbscoHost)
Provides access to over 4,500 scholarly journals and general interest magazines, with full-text available for most.

Google Scholar
By accessing this popular tool from the HKS Library web site you will be able to access any article that Harvard has a license for. Click on the purple "Find it @Harvard" button to find the full text of individual articles.

Back files of core journals in many academic fields. Click "browse" from the home page to select journals from a long list of disciplines.

Social Sciences Citation Index (Included in ISI Web of Science)
Comprehensive index of journals in the social sciences.

If you don't see a link to full text, use the Find It @ Harvard button. It will take you to the full text online or direct you to the HOLLIS catalog so you can find the print version.

Here are a few more specific sources to dig deeper into a specialized area:

Indexes articles in economic journals.

Indexes the public policy literature.

Business Source Complete
Contains the full text of business and management articles, including the Harvard Business Review.

You can also find Harvard's entire collection of indexes by title or subject in E-Research.

Newspapers and Magazines

Doing research on a current event? Need to know what was happening or what people were saying about an issue in the past? Newspapers and magazines are excellent sources for this.

Here are a few resources to locate newspaper and magazine articles:

Note: Lexis/Nexis does not have full text for the Wall Street Journal. You can find WSJ articles in Facitva or ABI Inform.

Lexis/Nexis Academic Universe 
Lexis/Nexis contains the full text of articles in thousands of newspapers and magazines. You can also access wire service reports and transcripts of news programs.
Factiva also contains the full text of thousands of news publications.

Hint: There is a guide to searching on our web page.

ABI Inform
Indexes academic journals, trade publications, and more in the field of busines and management.

Academic Search Premier
This is a great source for the more popular magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and the Nation.

Renewing Books

You can renew books that you have checked out from any Harvard library via HOLLIS Catalog. Just use your Harvard ID and PIN to log into the My Account/Renew section. You will see a list of materials you have checked out and can renew them online. We will also continue to accept phone renewals (617-495-1300).

Searching for a specific title or author

If you are looking for a specific book or books by a particular author, you will want to use the corresponding search type. Enter the title in without an beginning articles (such as the, a, an, le, la, etc.) For example, you would enter "The voluntary environmentalists : green clubs, ISO 14001, and voluntary regulations" like this:

HOLLIS title search

When you click on the "Search" button, you will get a list of titles. Click on the one you are looking for and you will see a screen telling you which libraries at Harvard own the title and providing you with the call number for retrieving that book from the shelves.

If you click on the "Avaliability" link next to the call number, you will discover if the book is checked out or not. If it is, you can click on the "request" link to put a hold on the book. If it is not checked out you can hustle over to the library in question and use your Harvard ID to check it out.

Searching for Books on a General Topic

Use books to get a good overview of a subject.  Because of their length, books  tend to provide a  more in-depth treatment of a topic.  Books can also be useful for helping you narrow your topic and for providing footnotes to additional materials.  

To find books on your topic, search the HOLLIS Catalog which lists books for all of the Harvard libraries.  

Start with a keyword search, entering words or phrases that describe your topic:

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For help with your specific topic and search strategy, talk to a member of the reference staff.

Once you have run your search you will get a list of records containing your keywords.  As you browse these records, take a look at the subject headings that are shown.   Subject headings can be useful for your research in two ways:

  • You may find words in the subject headings that can be incorporated into another keyword search.

  • You may find a subject heading that is a good match for your topic. If so, click it to get a list of all the other materials in the Harvard libraries that cover the same subject.
    subject heading

Hint:  You will probably find that the books on your topic are shelved in the same area.  Browse the shelves around these books to find others that may be useful.

Another hint:  Use the bibliographies in books to find other materials for your research.

Books not owned by Harvard

If you need a book that is not held at any of the Harvard libraries, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. Here is a link to more information about Interlibrary Loans.

Finding Materials on Reserve

Every semester many required and optional readings for Kennedy School classes are placed on Reserve at the library. Reserve materials are held behind the CIrculation Desk and may be checked out for 3 hours at a time. To find out what materials are on reserve for a class, use the HOLLIS catalog.

Click on the "Reserves" link in the top part of the screen.

Enter your course number, with KSG before it. For example, to see the readings for STM-110, enter:

HOLLIS reserves search

From the list of readings you can click on any specific title to see the record screen. On the record screen click on "Availability" to view how many copies are on reserve and to see which ones are checked out.

Once you have determined that an item is available on Reserve, ask for it at the Circulation Desk.

Citing Your Sources

As you write your paper you will want to make sure you credit your sources. Harvard's Expository Writing Program publishes a handbook on academic writing titled Writing with Sources: a Guide for Harvard Students. This guide can walk you through the whys and hows of citing.

Harvard also subscribes to a product called Refworks that is designed to help you store, organize and use your citaitons. Refworks will create a properly formatted bibliography using the citations you have collected. The RefWorks tool "Write-N-Cite" also allows you to insert properly formatted cites as footnotes or parenthetical inserts.

In RefWorks, click on the "Sign up for an individual account" link to fill out a very brief form which immediately creates your account on the spot. The first time you sign in with this account you will be given a short overview of the product. You may also wish to make an appointment with a Reference Librarian to get an in-depth tutorial.

If you feel comfortable creating your own citations, but need help remembering the exact style rules, consult the guide to Style and Citation.