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Planning: Journal articles / papers

Finding journal articles and research papers

What are journal articles?

A journal is a specific type of academic publication. Like magazines, new parts of journals are published regularly throughout the year. Typically this could be monthly, biannually (twice a year) or quarterly (every three months). Each of the parts of a journal is referred to as a journal "issue". Individual journal issues are often grouped together into annual journal "volumes".

Each journal issue contains a collection of articles, which are short pieces of academic writing. Articles are written by academics from universities and other research institutions and they provide information about current research and teaching.

Finding journal articles:

If you want to do a quick and simple search for journal articles, use Article Search or an ejournal package such as Science Direct or JSTOR. They will usually allow you to access the articles online immediately.

If you want to do a comprehensive search of the research literature, you should use one or more of the key databases (on the next tab) instead. The databases cover many more articles and offer better search features.


The following ejournal packages have papers with are relevant to planning-related topics:

To find a specific e-journal, please check the Library's e-journals A-Z list:

Alternatively, you can search Article Search. This can save you time, as Article Search searches many of the university's subscribed e-journals simultaneously.  

Hardcopy journals

If you can't access an article online, this could be because the university doesn't subscribe to the journal in which it was published. In that case, check if the library holds the journal in printed (i.e. hardcopy) format. This is often the case for older journals.

Search for the journal title (not the article title) on the library catalogue. If the library holds the journal in printed format, the catalogue will show you its location and the shelfmark. If you are not sure where to find the journal, please ask for help at one of the Enquiry Desks.

Journals from previous years are kept in the Journals Back Issues area opposite the main stairs on each floor. Go to:

  • Floor 1 for shelfmarks A-H

  • Floor 2 for shelfmarks I-P

  • Floor 3 for shelfmarks Q-Z

Current journals with shelfmarks A-P are kept on the sloping shelves on Floor1 but those with shelfmarks Q-Z are kept with the back issues.

Printed journals are shelved on mobile shelving. The video below shows how you can operate the mobile shelves. If you would like help with this, please ask at one of the Enquiry Desks:

Off-campus access

Signing in to e-journals from home:

The library's e-journals and databases can be accessed both on and off-campus.

When you are working from off-campus, please follow the links to e-journals from this guide, from the Library Catalogue, from Article Search or from the library's E-Journals A-Z. This will enable you to sign in with your QUB ID card details and access e-journals.

If you have queries about accessing e-journals or other e-resources from home, please contact your subject librarian, Irene Bittles (email:

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