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EN 124: College Research

What is a Journal Article/Periodical?

Narrowing Down Your Topic

Step Three: Find the Nitty Gritty Details

Journal articles answer a very specific question, very thoroughly. You'll need a few of these articles cited in your research to bring the granular details journal articles discuss into your paper.


Question: Where Do I Find Journal Articles?!

Answer: Databases! You can find journal articles on Google, but it's very difficult to sort what is and is NOT an article. It's easier on our databases to know exactly what you are looking at and know if it's good information.


Database Basics

  1. Let the database help you. When you type in keywords, the database will make some suggestions. Always take a look at what it recommends!
  2. Keep it simple. Don't throw sentences at a database. Keep your searches to two or three words that describe your topic best.
  3. Change it up. Keywords aren't working? Brainstorm some new ones!
  4. Limiters. On the left side of your results list are limiting options. Refine your search by selecting scholarly articles and restricting the date range.
  5. Read the Abstract. An abstract is a quick summary. Read it to see if the article is for you.
  6. PDF Full Text. This is the link to the full article. Click it and read!

Searching Tips and Tricks

Databases To Try

Citation Tools

Cite that book! Use zbib.org to whip up a quick citation, and make sure to copy that citation down on your Evaluation Sheet.