Millsaps College

How to Find Articles in Scholarly Journals?

1. What are Scholarly Journals?


  • Scholarly journals, also called peer-reviewed, academic, refereed or professional journals, are a major source of information for research papers and projects.
  • Because articles in these journals represent the most recent research performed by scholars and scientists, it is important to consult them in addition to books.
  • At some point a professor may require you to use articles from scholarly journals rather than from general magazines or newspapers.

Characteristics that distinguish scholarly journals from popular or news magazines

2. Don’t use the Internet — Use Library Research Databases to find Articles in Scholarly Journals:


  • Give you access to a wider selection of quality articles published on your topic than you could find on the Internet
  • Enable you to limit your search to scholarly articles (which is often required for assignments)
  • Provide a sophisticated search system (to help you formulate your search more precisely than you would be able to do using an Internet search tool such as Google)

3. How To find Articles in Scholarly Journals in Library Research Databases:

  • Access one of the Research Databases in your subject area from the Research Databases by Subject list.
  • Enter your search terms in the search box:Think about how you will combine your search terms in a way the computer will understand. For example, to find articles about violence on television, in most databases, you need to combine your keywords using AND or OR
    violence AND televisionWhen you use AND between two keywords, the articles retrieved must contain both words
    violence AND (television OR media)When you use OR between two keywords, the articles retrieved must contain at least one of the words. When using AND and OR in one search statement, always use parentheses to group synonyms.


  • Limit to “scholarly/peer-reviewed” resources.  
  • Optionally, limit to full-text (though you may miss many articles that might be useful.)
  • Identify articles of interest and print or email them to yourself.
  • If full-text isn’t available for a particular article, go to the Journal Titles - A to Z list to see if we own the journal in print or in another database. Search by the Journal title, not the Article title.

Example: Finding Scholarly Articles in EBSCO’s Academic Search Premier

Some databases offer two main options for limiting your search to scholarly journals:

* You can limit your search on the basic search screen
* You can select a link or tab to scholarly articles after you conduct your basic search (not all the databases allow this option)

This example of a search in Academic Search Premier is typical of searches in databases that offer both options.

Example: A basic search, using the search statement: stem cell and research and ethics, limited to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals:
In databases that allow the second option, you may want to wait to limit your search to scholarly journals until you retrieve the result list, which will be divided into the different types of resources. The same search as above yields the following results when you do not limit your search in the beginning:

Using Ulrich’s Periodical Directory to Identify Scholarly Journals

What if you have evaluated an article as scholarly, but you want to be absolutely certain before you use it? In that case you can check Ulrich’s Periodical Directory to find out whether the journal is scholarly. Ulrich’s is located in print in the reference area of the library at Z6941 .U5 2001. Ask a librarian to help you use it.

If you have any questions about finding journal articles, please don’t hesitate to ask us!

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