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Research Process: Articles

Periodical Articles

The term "periodical" refers to anything that is published at regular intervals throughout the year such as a newspaper, magazine, or journal:

  • Newspapers can be published daily, weekly or monthly. Editorials focus on commentary or opinion while the news articles are supposed to be factual information. Newspapers may have a viewpoint that echoes their publisher or the audience they serve which you may discover by "reading between the lines."
  • Popular magazines are not in-depth enough to be scholarly. The magazine may have an area of interest - Parenting is devoted to raising children and Time is a news magazine, but the articles are intended as overviews. Authors may or may not be named, there may be illustrations or charts, but there won't be a bibliography at the end.
  • Academic journals contain articles written by professionals in the field. The articles may be original research or an extension of previous research, illustrated with graphs, tables and they have a list of references at the end. Articles submitted to a academic journal are peer reviewed or juried, meaning other experts read and suggest revisions to the author before the final version is accepted for publication.

Library Databases

A database is a collection of sources including books, ebooks, magazines, journals, and newspapers.

Use the library's Research Guides for your course of study or ask a librarian to identify the best database for your information need.

You can also find resources for your research by selecting from the full list of databases the library subscribes to. For descriptions of database coverage and a list of the library's most popular databases, click View More Results.

Searching Library Databases

The short video below describes how to run a search in FiSH. FiSH (First, Search Here) searches most of the library resources using one simple search box. To search FiSH, use the box below or visit the Library Home Page.

FiSH Search

 Enter a Search Term:

Scholarly or Not?

What is a scholarly source?

A scholarly source is material written by an expert or experts (scholarly articles will often have multiple authors) for other experts. If a journal is peer reviewed, that means scholars in the field looked at the material and made comments or recommendations before it could be published, this process ensures that the information is more credible than, say, a website like Yahoo Answers or Reddit. Often these scholarly, peer reviewed articles describe a study that was done, including the objectives and outcomes.

How do I know that a source is scholarly?

Often, your professors will require you to use scholarly sources, so how can you tell that this requirement is being met? The New York Times seems like a credible source, but is it scholarly?

Here are some criteria that can help you determine if a source is scholarly (or not):

  • The authors names, affiliations, and credentials are included.
  • There is a list of references (usually many, many references) at the end of the article.
  • There will be very few images and advertisements (if any), instead you'll find charts, graphs, and other types of data.
  • The language will be advanced and often use jargon or words specific to the discipline.
  • ***When using the library databases, you can actually check a box to limit your sources to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) - additionally, the articles are labeled, look for those with the label Academic Journal (these terms are often used interchangeably).***

Periodical Comparison Chart

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