Getting Started
Finding Resources
Journal Articles
ERIC Documents
Legal Information
Evaluating Resources
Citing Your Sources
ERIC Thesaurus
Research Databases
Database Tutorials
Writing Dissertations
Library Services

University Libraries


Finding Journal Articles

Why use journal articles for research?

Journal articles are essential sources for current information on very focused topics. You can find articles in scholarly journals, trade journals, newspapers, and popular magazines. However, very often you will be expected to use articles from scholarly journals (also known as peer-reviewed or refereed journals) for research papers because they must be reviewed by subject experts before they are published. Thus, articles presented in scholarly journals are more authoritative than those in other types of publications. For more information on the differentiation between scholarly and non-scholarly journals, please see " Characteristics of Scholarly Journals, Trade Journals and Popular Magazines".

How to find journal articles?

The University Libraries provide numerous electronic indexes and databases for locating articles related to Education. Some indexes provide only citations; some provide citations and abstracts. Others furnish the complete texts of articles. Below are some examples of databases that index articles in scholarly journals:

  • ERIC
  • Education Source
  • Educational Administration Abstracts
  • Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts
  • PsycINFO

Using Search Terms to Find Journal Articles in Research Databases

Principle databases for Education, such as ERIC and Education Source will help you delve into resources specific to various aspects of education. Relevant databases like Social Sciences Full Text, Sociological Abstracts, Web of Science, Dissertatoins and Theses, and Academic Search Complete offer searching across a broad spectrum of disciplines. For a list of key database titles, see Research Databases.

When searching databases, you can use Boolean operators - AND, OR - to combine your search terms to retrieve records that best match your topic.

  • Use "AND" to narrow your search
    It finds records in which all of your search terms are present. The more terms you combine in a search with AND, the fewer records you will retrieve.
  • Use "OR" to broaden your search
    It adds synonyms to your search and retrieves all the unique records containing one term, the other, or both. The more terms you combine in a search with OR, the more records you will retrieve.

If your research thesis were "The effects of online courses on academic performance in higher education," you could formulate a query like this:

("online courses" OR "Web based instruction" OR "distance education")
("academic performance" OR "academic achievement" OR "student evaluation")
("higher education" OR "universit*" OR "college*")

Note: The asterisk is used to find words with similar root. In this case, the asterisk will retrieve both the singular and plural forms for the words "university" and "college."