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.
Journal articles are a great resource to use. They will cover more specific topics and go into more detail than a textbook. They usually contain more up-to-date and cutting edge research than books.
Many journal articles also go through the process of peer review. Watch the video on this page to find out what peer review is and how it acts as an extra quality-control step.
Academic articles contain original research, 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 area.
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; this is 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 okay and relevant you can then take your time over it in more detail