How can you tell if you've found a scholarly article?
Some of our databases allow you to limit your results to Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed (possibly Refereed) articles. In some cases, this isn’t so clear. You can either check with your professor or a librarian, or you can search for the journal name in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory (under Databases, on the Library site).
Once you’ve found the name of the journal you’re looking for, look for a small referee’s shirt icon (), to the left of the title. This indicates that there is scholarly (peer-reviewed, refereed…) value to the articles in this title.
What’s the difference between a Journal and an Article?
This can be a confusing question, and many students that come to the Reference Desk don’t know which they want.
Journal: A journal is a collection of articles. Sometimes this is printed, and sometimes it is electronic.
Article: An article is a single piece of research, written by one or more authors. Articles are found within journals.
For example: the Harvard Business Review contains a number of articles, each written by different authors.
When conducting your literature
review, you want to be sure to find as much information about previous studies
as possible. One of the best places to
start looking for articles is in one of the Library’s many databases. Not only do we have a number of general
discipline resources, but there are also many subject-specific databases to
choose from. A number of these offer
full-text access to articles online, and most can be used from off campus, as
You can see a complete list of the databases that the Library subscribes to by clicking either the Find Articles in Databases link on our homepage. If you know the name of the database you want to search, you can simply scroll down the list or, to get a smaller set of subject-specific databases, click on the appropriate subject link at the top of the page.
Keep in mind that your subject may cover more than one area (Social Sciences and Education, etc.), therefore, be sure to use more than one database when doing your searches! Even among similar databases, information will vary.
Some of these sociology-based databases will be good starting points for most topics:
If your topic touches on issues of educational equality, or relates to issues present in schools and higher education, you might want to also explore these databases:
For those of you dealing with issues of healthcare and mental illness, the following databases will be useful:
In addition to searching the general sociology databases (above), check out these resources when dealing with issues of gender inequality:
When reviewing articles and books, you might come across a citation for another article that you'd like to use.
To find out if the Library has the article, use the Journals & Periodicals link on the Library website, and search for the journal name (not the name of the article).
This will tell you which database (if any) contains full-text for that journal.
Compare the year of the article to the options presented, and browse the holdings, using the citation as your guide.
If the Library doesn't have the article you need, submit an Interlibrary Loan request!
Requests usually take a few days to process, but are emailed directly to your WPUNJ email address.
Just be sure to submit early, so you have time to read the articles before your deadline!