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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 Library 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:

Hardcopy journals

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

Search for the journal title (not the article title) on Library Search. If the library holds the journal in printed format, Library Search 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 library's information 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 or from Library Search. 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:

The following might also be helpful:

  • the library's e-resource access guide shows how to sign in to e-books, e-journals and databases from home
  • alternatively, try out the Lean Library browser extension to access all types of e-resources off campus. See information at the bottom of this box. Click the Embed QUB Library in your browser button to install the Lean Library extension in your browser.
  • if you like searching Google Scholar, you can set it up to access full-text articles from home
  • you can also install the QUB Library proxy bookmarklet in your browser for easier off-campus access to e-resources
Unlock access to academic papers!
Thanks to Queen's University Belfast Library and their partnership with Lean Library you now have the ability to easily find full text content wherever and whenever you decide to study. And it's FREE!