Journal articles are short papers written on a narrow topic area. They are part of larger issues called journals, which are published on a regular basis. Consequently they are usually more up-to-date than books.
Journal articles are normally very specific so you must know what you are looking for when searching for them. If your topic is still broad then stick with books initially until you narrow it down.
Many journal articles also go through the process of peer review. Watch the video in the box below to find out what peer review is and how it acts as an extra quality control step.
You have three options:
1. Locate article search
Use the main search box to do an article search on the homepage of Locate.
Limit to 'peer-reviewed' results and also limit your date if necessary.
2. Google Scholar Search
Link Locate to Google Scholar https://scholar.google.co.uk/ using these instructions from the guides and tutorials tab
Search with your keywords and narrow to latest years on the top left
3. Individual database searching
Go to the subject resources tab and select a database for your area. Searching individual databases retrieves fewer but generally more relevant results. You also have more flexibility with the search function. Databases are used mostly by final year and postgraduate students. A Locate article search is fine for first and second years.
1. Read the abstract (overview) to check if it's relevant
2. Check the authority of the author
3. Skim the paragraphs - look for your keywords
4. Is there a literature review? (Discussion of the literature already written and useful to see who are the key writers on your topic.)
5. Are there any references you can investigate later?
6. Read the conclusion
7. If it looks ok and relevant you can then take your time over it in more detail
The resources listed below are journal article databases. Each database searches thousands of journals.
Each database covers a different subject area. You will get less results from your search than Google Scholar, but the articles will be more relevant to your topic.
Hover your cursor over the database name for more information.
Use the search box below to search Google Scholar. Google Scholar is straightforward to use, and unlike regular Google will find scholarly material, including peer-reviewed journal articles.
Academic articles contain critical debate, analysis and case studies which you can comment upon and cite in your essays.
Citing the opinions of others in the text of your essay shows you have read the articles. Don't just reference them at the end! Ask your tutor for the best journals to read in your subject field.
Academic - a well respected source of information for practitioners and researchers. Witten by academics and checked for accuracy by other academics [peer-reviewed] and the journal editor before publication. They have formal sounding titles eg. International Journal of Art & Design Education.
Document Supply can be used to obtain any journal article, book, report etc that you cannot get access to through the library.
Use the link on the homepage of Locate or apply here for the form.
Visit other universities to see the print version of an article. You can apply through a scheme called SCONUL Access.
You can also Google for any university library catalogue to check if they stock your journal.