FIG #16: Electing a President: Library Resources: Journal Articles
Types of articles and journals
You will often be asked to search for academic, scholarly, refereed or peer-reviewed articles. How are they different from other articles?
Academic, Scholarly, Refereed, or Peer-reviewed Articles
- Academic articles appear in academic journals (as opposed to general interest or trade magazines)
- Articles in academic journals are selected (refereed) by experts in the field (peer reviewers).
- Academic articles are created by academics for academics.
- The research and information in these articles is considered to be trustworthy and well-researched.
- Academic journals often have the word "journal" in the title, like Journal of Environmental Health.
- Academic articles are long.
- Academic articles have citations (footnotes or endnotes).
- Academic articles are often primary literature, meaning the first reports of research.
- Academic journals rarely feature color pictures; many will feature charts and graphs.
- Authors often have an affiliation with a university or research institute.
- Trade magazines provide news for professionals in a field, so they assume the reader is knowledgable. (Columbia Journalism Review is a trade magazine for journalists, The Biologist is a trade magazine for biologists.)
- Articles are often shorter and don't have footnotes.
- General-interest magazines include titles like Time, Newsweek, Forbes, and Rolling Stone.
- Articles are often shorter and written for a general audience.
- Don't dismiss an article in a general-interest magazine, but be aware of who it is written for and where it is coming from.
Many databases will allow you to limit to only articles in peer-reviewed journals. Ulrich's Web is a directory of journals (not a database of articles) that will always tell you whether a periodical is refereed.