Irving Public Library

Posted on: November 29, 2017

Shopping Made Easier


With the holiday shopping season in high gear, many people are making big purchases that go beyond filling out what's under the Christmas tree.  Whether it's taking advantage of sales on major appliances, or the urgency of buying a space heater and electric blanket during an unexpected cold snap, everyone seems to have their wallets open. But where can you turn to to make sure you're buying a quality product?

For decades Consumer Reports has made it their mission to test and report on a wide range of consumer products - from cars to credit cards, snack foods to smartphones. The company conducts independent tests in their lab, and polls thousands of their subscribers. To remain unbiased, Consumer Reports purchases items anonymously, and accepts no advertising in their magazines.

Consumer Reports is also very protective of their information, and you won't find full-text versions of their articles on the Internet.  Usually the only way you can read Consumer Reports is to buy it on the newsstand, subscription, or travel to the library and borrow our copies.  But their is another way to read full-text Consumer Reports articles online for free - through EBSCOhost's MasterFILE Premier service offered by Irving Public Library.

Start at our Magazine, Newspapers and Journals ( web page, also listed under the menus Research and eLearning > Research by Subject. On the Magazine page are links to other similar services we provide, including Flipster, providing you access to millions of articles from thousands of publications.

To get started, click on MasterFILE Premier. If you're at work or home, enter your 14 digit library card number and 4 digit PIN, to reach the EBSCOhost search page.

Once you're at the EBSCOhost search page, do the following to search for articles from Consumer Reports.  

  1. Type your topic into the main search box appearing prominently towards the top of the screen.  
  2. Scroll down the screen, and type Consumer Reports into the Publication search box.  
  3. Click the green Search button.

You should then see a search results page with a list of articles arranged in chronological order. I searched for space heaters and found 64 articles. The first article was a product spotlight for the Dyson space heater (Jan. 2018), and the second was an in-depth analysis on many types of space heaters (Jan. 2016). 

When you're looking at the results list, click on the title to get a much longer description with full text. If you want the full image, click on PDF Full Text, which brings up a scan of the page right from the magazine.

Another way to access Consumer Reports information is through the Flipster magazine service. You'll find the annual publication Consumer Reports Buyer's Guide, which collects the past few years of articles on a wide range of products. Unfortunately because this publication comes out once a year, it may not contain the latest information from Consumer Reports. You can access the Buyer's Guide by following the instructions on the main Flipster page.

Happy shopping!

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