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Information Studies: Find journal articles

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.

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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!

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