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How To Find/Research Tips: Scholarly Journal Articles

This guide provides tips on how to use a variety of TCNJ Library resources and services.

What is a Scholarly Journal?

You can identify a scholarly journal by the following features:

  • Purpose - to inform, report, or make original research available to other researchers.
  • Authors/Publishers - written by scholars or researchers in the field. Articles are peer reviewed by other experts in the field before being published by a professional organization.
  • Sources - include extensive documentation to previously published research (footnotes, reference lists, bibliographies, etc.)
  • Language - use terminology/jargon and the language of the discipline covered.
  • Format - have serious formats. May contain graphs and charts to illustrate concepts.
  • Examples - Annals of Microbiology, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Physiology, Physics Letters
  • Library research tutorial

    For more help on finding journal articles, take a look at the "Find Articles" module of the library research tutorial. It only takes about 15 minutes to work through this and it could save you hours in the long term!

    Advanced vs basic search [video]

    A brief video demonstrating the benefits of using advanced search in library databases. Also available via this link.

    Finding articles at Gitenstein Library [video]

    A brief video demonstrating how to find articles at Gitenstein Library. Also available via this link.

    Step 1. Search for Articles On Your Topic

    First find citations by searching databases on your topic. For example,

    If you do not know the name of a relevant database, take a look at the list of subjects on the Library's list of databases:

    Choose a Subject

    After you've chosen a subject, use any of the databases on the page that loads next for you. (It should be a list of databases that are useful for a particular subject/discipline). Now search a database by keyword or by subject (example: adolescents and smoking). Taking time to think about your keywords will help improve your results.

    Evaluate your citations. Look for citations that seem to be from scholarly journals instead of dissertations or book chapters. Some databases permit you to limit your search to scholarly/peer reviewed journals.

    Getting to the databases [video]

    A brief video explaining the advantages of library databases, and how to get to them. Also available via this link.

    Step 2. Find a Copy of the Article

    If you are searching a fulltext database the entire article may be available for download, email, or to print out. If so, click on the link for the article.

    Not all articles are available as fulltext through the web, however. Some articles can only be found in printed journals that the library owns. These are generally located in Current Periodicals (Level 2), if they were published within the last year or so, or in Bound Periodicals (Lower Level).

    If you have a journal article citation, you need to check whether TCNJ subscribes to the journal in electronic or print format. You can check this by doing a search for the journal title.

    If the library does not own a copy of the journal, you can submit an Interlibrary Loan Request.