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Critical Writing Program (Spring 2022): Craft Of Prose (WRIT 002-306): What to Do When You Are Stuck

What to do when you are stuck

Even the most seasoned researchers get stuck. That is part of the discovery process of research.

A few suggestions:

  • Change things up: try a different kind of database, change your keywords, try a citation chase 
  • Talk to your professor or TA: they are researchers and can help direct you
  • Email or make an appointment with a subject librarian [customize: add your contact information here]

What do I do if I hit a paywall? 

Using Penn subscribed databases sends you through the Libraries "proxy." The proxy is the key that unlocks the subscription paywalls. You should never have to pay for a journal article. Talk to your librarian if you run into trouble connecting to an article.  99% of the time they can help you get the article quickly.

To avoid paywalls:

  • Connect to databases through library guides like this one or through Franklin Catalog. 
  • Set Lean Library up in your browser--The Lean Library Library Access Browser Extension allows you to easily connect to Penn Libraries' licensed content from your laptop or desktop computer when off-campus.   Lean Library also offers a mobile app version called Academic Browser for iOS.
  • Use Google Scholar Advanced settings to recognize your Penn affiliation.
    • Click the three short lines or "hamburger' in the right hand corner 
    • Click settings > library links > Search for University of Pennsylvania in the search box > check University of Pennsylvania - Full Text via Penn Text > save

    google scholar settings  

If we don't have direct access to an article or book chapter, you can "Request Scan" (the Libraries will request from another library--turn around time can be quick!) or request books from "Request Print," which will trigger a request from one of our partner libraries. Log into Franklin Catalog to see all of your options. 

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