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Database, Journal, & Article Searching

This guide explains how to find and cite scholarly articles, as well as offers information on pdf vs html, article linking and much more.

Video: How to Identify Scholarly Articles

The following brief video will introduce students to identifying scholarly / peer reviewed sources in databases. 

Finding Scholarly Articles

What is a Peer-Reviewed or Scholarly Article?

Image of a historical looking man writing on a modern computer

Often, a Professor will specify that articles need to be peer-reviewed, scholarly or refereed (they all mean the same thing). A peer-review process means that other experts in the field reviewed the article's content prior to publication and determined it was scholarly.

Common components of a peer-reviewed article are:

  • Abstract : a brief paragraph that describes the content of the article. TIP: If you cannot understand the abstract, you definitely won't be able to understand the article!
  • Bibliography:  Sources will be clear, usually at the end with a reference list but sometimes with footnotes or both.
  • Authority: the author's credentials / affiliation will be clearly stated.
  • Technical: and contain specific terminology relative to the topic and/or graphs, charts or complex mathematical equations or formulas.
  • It will likely be substantially longer than a magazine article. This tells you NOT to search in popular magazines, newspapers, trade journals and Google.

Yes, there is Google Scholar, but often times once an article is finally located there is a fee to obtain it. Always check JET Library databases first, where access to everything is FREE.

Peer Review Process

How do I find Peer-Reviewed Articles?screen shot of jetfind peer-reviewed journal filter


These types of articles are ONLY found in Scholarly Journals. The best way to access scholarly journals is through JETfind or our databases. To limit to peer-review only, look for a box where you can check 'peer-reviewed' or "scholary journals".  


The screenshot from the left is from JETfind but each database could have the Peer Review option in a different place.



The Search Results list in JETfind will also include a peer review icon that is visible even if you don't select Peer-Reviewed Journals from the filters.



screenshot of jetfind search result list with peer reviewed icon


How do I know if something is peer reviewed?

Once inside of Journal Finder, you can easily see what is peer reviewed or open access. Simply enter the Journal Finder from the Library Homepage or just follow this link. The example below is for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Note the graduation cap icon, this is an indicator that the journal is peer-reviewed. 

screenshot of peer reviewed icon for the journal of applied behavior analysis

Click on the Title of Availability Link for more information scroll down to the Details section.

screenshot of the details for the journal of applied behavioral analysis

If you require more information, such as title changes, year/location/frequency of publication, reviews or indexing information, use the Ulrich's database available in A-Z databases. " Note, if you are off campus, you will be asked to authenticate in order to access this subscription. 

How Do I Search for Articles?

How do I search for articles?

The first step to finding articles is to pick your keywords. The video below explains the process of going form a research question, to keywords, and then searching.

Different Types of Periodicals

Identifying Components of Scholarly Articles

Cited References

Why would you care about this?

Illustration of a Stop Sign that stays "1 Stop Shopping"Cited references are good, because they offer related articles and if available, hyperlinks to access them. In this way, students maybe able to find a multitude of resources just by clicking into a single article result. Here's how it works:

When a user initiates a Basic or Advanced keyword search, appropriate Cited References or Times Cited in this Database links are presented with the search results. When clicked, a Cited References link will present a list of records cited in the original article. If a user selects one or more of those references, and then clicks the Related Records button, the References sub-tab will present a list of records related to the original article. These records are sorted by relevance, based on the greatest number of shared cited references.

If a user clicks the Times Cited in this Database link on a result, the Citing Articles sub-tab will present a list of records that cite the original article. Cited References and Times Cited in this Database links are also displayed on the article detail page.

Additionally, users can search by Cited References. This functionality can be found on the search screen's toolbar button labeled Cited References. On the Cited References search screen, users can enter search terms in any or all of these fields: Cited Author, Cited Title, Cited Source, Cited Year or All Citation Fields, and then conduct a search.*

*information courtesy of EBSCO publishing.

No Hits on Your Search?

Illustration of a red question mark holding a tablet with caption I'm sorry...I can't find any results for that search. Please try a different search belowIn JETfind or a database, if you receive zero results, CHECK THE FOLLOWING:

  • Did you spell all your words correctly? JETfind and databases do not recognize misspelled words and will not return suggestions like Google.
  • Did you try using alternate keywords? A good practice is to make a list of terms first. For example, you might say Movie or Film but in a database you would search Motion Picture
  • Are you sure you're in the right place? Especially in subject specific databases, make sure you are in a resource that will have information relevant to your topic. For example: searching in a Nursing database for articles on Business Management won't yield many relevant results.
  • Are your terms too specific? Try starting with the highest level of whatever concept you are going for and stay away from entering phrases or entire sentences. If you are conducting a 'phrase search' and the results don't make sense, try putting those terms in "quotes"  (e.g., "urban waste") or separate your concepts. More on advanced techniques and boolean searching...
  • Are you including nonessential words or punctuation? Library searches do not work the same way Google does. Do not type in a whole sentence. Databases generally ignore capital letters and words such as 'a' 'an' 'of' or 'the' and do not understand symbols such as colons, semicolons, and dashes. Acronyms, however, can be very effective if you are in the right subject specific database.
  • Did you try a subject search? Often it is best to let JETfind or a database "do the driving" for you. Once you find a single relevant item, try clicking on the subject hyperlink(s) for more results.

Still not getting what you want? Ask a Librarian!