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Education: Journal articles

Library resources for Education

What is a journal article

A journal is a specific type of academic publication. They are published regularly throughout the year. This may be monthly, biannually (twice a year), quarterly (every three months) and each of these parts is referred to as a journal issue

Please note that not every journal will have the word journal in its title. 

Each journal issue contains a collection of articles (short pieces of written work). Articles are written by academic staff from universities and other research institutions. The articles provide information about current research and teaching and will be referred to during your studies. 

As with books, on the front page or within the first few pages of the issue, there will be a list of contents. These may include articles, reviews, editorials and other short pieces of informative writing. 

Interpreting journal article references

This reference is written in the Harvard referencing style.

                journal article reference

Finding journal articles

Article Search search can be used to find a particular article or to carry out a quick and basic search to find articles about a topic.

For a focused search see the Advanced searching with Article search video on this page. 

Article Search - advanced and focused searching

Finding articles about a topic

The  Article Search defaults to search all the full text journals, across all subject areas which the Library subscribes to.

If you wish to search only the journals which are of particular relevance to your subject or topic of interest, select the Key databases tab on this guide to see a list of resources which index the more relevant journals.

Before beginning your search, consider designing a search strategy to make your search effective.

Useful search tips

Natural and academic language 

Use a mixture of natural and academic language as these will appear in the title and abstracts of papers.  For example, teenager has a lot of synonyms so a variety of alternative words can be used including teen, young person, young adult, adolescents, adolescence etc.  

Subject headings 

Subject headings are umbrella terms used by some databases to describe content or information.  Articles are assigned a number of subject headings by indexers on behalf of the databases.  It is a great method of searching for relevant literature related to your topic. 

Phrase searching 

Most databases use double quotation marks (“…”) to search for phrases.  This is useful when you want to find results where the words appear together to make up a phrase, for example, "cognitive behavioural therapy" or “heart attack”. 

Truncation  

Many databases use the asterisk (*) as a truncation command.  When used at the end of a keyword, it will instruct the database to search the root of the word and retrieve results with various endings, for example, disease* will find disease, diseases and diseased.  Using truncation can be useful when searching for plurals. 

Databases can use different syntax so it’s worth checking the Help menu of each resource. You can also ask your subject librarian for help with this.  

Need Help?

Email: n.menabney@qub.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 6233

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