When searching for articles, it's important to know what type of source, or periodical in which the articles are published. This is beacuse each type has its own purpose, intent, audience, etc. This guide lists criteria to help you identify scholarly journals, trade journals, and magazines. It is the first step in critically evaluating your source of information. Determining what makes a journal scholarly is not a clear-cut process, but there are many indicators which can help you.
- Reports original research or experimentation
- Articles written by an expert in the field for other experts in the field
- Articles use specialized jargon of the discipline
- Articles undergo peer review process before acceptance for publication in order to assure creative content
- Authors of articles always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies
Journal of Asian Studies
A note about "peer review." Peer review insures that the research reported in a journal's article is sound and of high quality. Sometimes the term "refereed" is used instead of peer review.
- Discusses practical information in industry
- Contains news, product information, advertising, and trade articles
- Contains information on current trends in technology
- Articles usually written by experts in the field for other experts in the field
- Articles use specialized jargon of the discipline
- Useful to people in the trade field and to people seeking orientation to a vocation
General Interest Magazines
- Provides information in a general manner to a broad audience
- Articles generally written by a member of the editorial staff or a freelance writer
- Language of articles geared to any educated audience, no subject expertise assumed
- Articles are often heavily illustrated, generally with photographs
- No peer review process
- Sources are sometimes cited, but more often there are no footnotes or bibliography
- Articles are short and written in simple language with little depth to the content of these articles
- The purpose is generally to entertain, not necessarily inform
- Information published in popular magazines is often second-or third-hand
- The original source of information contained in articles is obscure
- Articles are written by staff members or freelance writers
How do you find scholarly journals?
The McQuade Library has many online periodical databases which contain scholarly journal articles. Databases such as EBSCOhost and INFOTRAC allow you to limit your search to peer reviewed or refereed journals.
If you have found an article and are not sure if it is scholarly or not you can find out by consulting the following books located in the Reference Room:
LaGuardia, Cheryl, Magazines for Libraries, 12th ed., New Providence, NJ: R.R. Bowker. (Ref Z 6941 .K2 2003)
Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory, New York: Bowker, 2003. (Ref Z 6941 .U5 2003)
If you need assistance or require further information please ask a librarian.
The information contained in this brochure was adapted from Working with Faculty to Design Undergraduate Information Literacy Programs: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians by Rosemary Young, New York: Neal Schuman, 1999. (Updated 01/07/04)
What are they good for? These databases help you locate relevant articles in scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers. In many cases, the full text of the article is available right in the database. When that is not the case, always click on the gold UILink button to see if we subscribe to the periodical in print or online. Chances are good that we do.
We subscribe to many databases or online indexes. Those we've listed below tend to focus on current events, controversial topics and commentary (opinion pieces) that may be hard to locate elsewhere.
Academic Search Elite indexes articles from a vast array of periodicals, including scholarly journals, popular magazines and newspapers. Many articles are available in full text; if not, be sure to check UILink. If you need just scholarly articles, there is an easy way to limit to those.
Access World News provides the full text of newspaper articles from the U.S. and around the world. U.S. coverage includes Chicago Tribune and some Iowa newspapers. International newspaper articles may be in English or the local language. There is a geographic locator for searching by a U.S. state, a continent, or a specific country.
CQ Researcher Plus Archive is part of the CQ Electronic Library. It contains encyclopedia-like articles on controversial issues of the day. These provide a good overview of the topic, pro/con statements from experts, and lists of additional readings. An excellent place to start your research.
LexisNexis Academic provides the full text of U.S. and international newspaper articles, as well as other news sources, including radio and television news transcripts.
OpinionArchives provides the full text of opinion pieces and commentary from a dozen U.S. publications, across the political spectrum. If you need pro/con statements from either side of an issue, this is the place to look.
ProCon.org is an independent site on the open web that summarizes viewpoints on a select number of controversial issues.