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STEM Education Research Group: Find journal articles

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Research Group

Journals & databases

Journals are similar to magazines in that they are published regularly (e.g. monthly).

Articles in journals are more in-depth and well-researched than magazine articles. They are written by experts in a particular field of study, and are based on the author's research.

Most of the library's journal articles are accessed electronically through the library databases.

Journal databases are huge, searchable, up-to-date indexes of journal references.

Databases help you to find high quality, up-to-date journal articles that have been published by respected publishers and publications.

If you have been asked to find scholarly articles for your assignment, you will need to search a database.

A peer reviewed journal contains articles that, before being accepted for publishing, are reviewed and approved by a panel of experts in the same subject area as the articles' authors. Similar terms used for these types of journals are: refereed, scholarly and academic.

The library catalogue and many journal databases allow you to limit your search to only include these types of journals. And Ulrichsweb is a directory to check whether journals are refereed.


More help with database searching

  • use general keywords to search
  • start broad, look at the results then refine your search
  • think of alternative keywords (synonyms) for the concepts in your topic
  • control your search by using Boolean searching to narrow or broaden it using the words AND  OR  NOT

Database searching - Boolean search with AND     Database searching - Boolean search with OR     Database searching - Boolean search with NOT   

NARROW                      BROADEN                          EXCLUDE

  • where appropriate, consider using other search features
    • truncation symbol  *
      variations of a word with the same stem word as well as singular or plurals
      eg. architect*  finds architect, architects, architecture, architectural
    • phrase searching  "..."
      some combinations of words are more relevant together, eg. "global warming"

Take a look at the tutorial Analysing your assignment topic

Boolean operators can help you search databases more effectively. Just watch out for the pirate-ninja-cephalopod!

View full screen version.


Featured database - Engineering Information Village (Ei)

Engineering Information Village (Ei Village)

Ei Village provides access to both INSPEC and Compendex. You can search both databases simultaneously to find citations with abstracts (with links) in physics, electronics and electrical engineering, and computer fields. Primary coverage is of journal articles and conference papers, plus significant books, technical reports, and dissertations. Chemical and process engineering, computers and data processing, electronics and communication, civil engineering and mechanical engineering areas are also covered.