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Research Skills Tutorial

Module 4: Finding Journal Articles

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Recognize different types of articles (popular or general interest; scholarly; trade or professional; news).
  • Select the article type relevant to the assignment or project.
  • Select the index appropriate to the desired article type.
  • Identify which journals are owned by the Regis University Libraries.
  • Determine what other library may own the desired journal.
  • Use Interlibrary Loan service, as appropriate.

Definition of Periodicals

Periodicals are materials that are published periodically, such as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Magazines, journals, and newspapers are all types of periodicals. Periodicals are important sources of current information, especially for topics too new to be published in books.

Periodical Article Indexes

To identify articles on a particular subject, it is most efficient to use a periodical index. An index provides a listing of article citations, generally accessed by subject or keyword. The Regis Library web page makes it easy for you to locate relevant indexes, i.e. databases, for your research by using the Research by Subject pages.

Subject specific databases generally index the scholarly literature related to a particular discipline. Other databases index statistical information, such as government statistics or other types of data. There are also databases that primarily index company and financial information.

The Research by Subject page allows you to select a subject area to locate relevant databases for that subject. Remember, the best resources for your research might not always be electronic ones. Check with a reference librarian for additional suggestions.

How do I know what type of article to use?

Two main considerations in determining which type of article to use for an assignment are the parameters of the assignment and the focus of the topic. The assignment parameters will influence the depth or breadth of sources required. A three-page paper will likely require broader, more general information sources than a twenty-page thesis. Once you have determined the parameters of your assignment, you can then focus your research topic to a manageable size. Refer to Module 1, Getting Started, for details on focusing your topic.

Types of Articles

  • Scholarly or Peer Reviewed
    Articles are written for scholars or researchers within a particular discipline and contain the vocabulary or jargon related to that field. Often an editorial board of peer reviewers (referees) with expertise in the field selects articles for inclusion. Authors of these articles tend to be authorities in their subject fields. These articles are longer than what you would find in a general interest or news source and include a bibliography to support the findings being presented.

    See What is a Scholarly Journal? for more tips.

    Examples: Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, Journal of Applied Physics, and American Historical Review.

  • Popular or General Interest
    Articles are written for a broad, general audience of readers. The intent is to persuade, sell, or entertain. Articles are authored by staff writers or freelance writers, and do not include bibliographies or footnotes.

    Examples: Rolling Stone, Ladies Home Journal, People.

  • News or Newspapers
    Articles are written for a broad audience of readers, generally covering current events. Articles published in a news source are shorter than scholarly journal articles.

    Examples: The New York Times, The Denver Post, Newsweek.

  • Trade
    Articles are written by and for professionals or specialists within a particular industry or field. Trade publications contain peer-to-peer advertisements, directed at those working in a particular industry.

    Examples: Broadcasting & Cable, Library Journal, and Beverage World.

Locating and Retrieving Articles

Some articles are available in full-text, meaning a link to the full content of the article is provided. Other databases simply list the article citation and may include an abstract, or summary, of the article. An article may be available full-text in one database, while another database provides only a citation to the same article.

How can I access the article I need?
If the full-text of an article is not available through the database you've been searching, try:

  • Locate a Journal
    Use this search to look up the title of a journal and to determine if the Regis Library has online access to a journal.
  • Lumen
    To locate a journal in print or microform at the Regis Libraries, search Lumen for the journal title.
  • Prospector
    Use the Journal Title search in Prospector to determine if other area libraries own a periodical.

See Locating Articles for more tips.

If a periodical is not available through the Regis University Libraries, you can request a copy of the article you need through our interlibrary loan system. Regis students, faculty, and staff, regardless of their geographic location, can request items (e.g., article, book, etc.) through the interlibrary loan loan service. See "Using Interlibrary Loan Service" in Module 3 for more information.

For more information on interlibrary loan services, including how distance students and faculty can also use these services to request materials owned by Regis, visit Interlibrary Loan Services.