How to get the Full text of a study

It can be really annoying how the full text of so many studies is behind a paywall! But don’t despair, there’s still lots of options for getting the full text of any study you need. It might take some work, but it can be done.

I generally keep a list of studies that grab my interest and then every few weeks grab the studies all at once. Here are the techniques I have used:


Older studies often have the full text available here, even when the journal’s web site still charges.

My local library

The computers at the local library have some full text options that are not available from my home computer. Over time I’ve learned which journals I can usually get from there.

University library

Over the years I have done this differently. Sometimes I’ve gone in person to the university library as a visitor, and been able to get studies that way. I used to have to pay for printing back in the old days, but more recently I’ve been able to save to a USB. Most recently, I’ve had a kid in college and have been able to have them pull studies for me. (Side perk of paying their tuition!) If you don’t live near a University or college library, see if any of your contacts do and are willing to help you out!

Contacting the researcher

Many articles will have a place for a contact or correspondence. Look in the abstract for an email or (in older studies) a mailing address. If you contact the researcher directly, they can send you a copy of the study.

Between those three things, I’ve nearly always been able to get a copy of the full text without paying for it.