What is a Scholarly Journal Article?
For most academic papers, scholarly journal articles are excellent and preferred sources for supporting your argument. Characteristics of a scholarly journal article:
• Generally based on original research or experimentation and frequently includes an explanation of research methodology.
• Generally contributes additional knowledge to or demonstrates original research within a particular field. Does not report about events but instead analyzes and comments about events.
• The language used in such articles presumes that the reader has some background knowledge of the topic.
• Written by a researcher or expert in the field who is often affiliated with a college, university, or other research institution. Author’s credentials are indicated in the article. Generally non-scholarly articles are written by a reporter or journalist who has no special qualification for writing the article. The author may have done research for the article but not “original” research (the actual lab work, math, or theoretical analysis).
• Usually includes footnotes and/or a bibliography (evidence of research).
• May include graphs or charts as illustrations as opposed to glossy pictures. Fairly plain format. Few, if any, advertisements.
• Published by academic presses or professional societies or organizations and subject to a peer-review process, which means that other “experts” or specialists in the field evaluate the quality and originality of the research as precondition of publication.
How to Find Scholarly Journal Articles
Collection Overview. The UMass Amherst Libraries support student research through online subscriptions to 17,000 journals. Journal databases include peer-reviewed professional journals, consumer magazines, and daily newspapers – most in full-text, full-image format. The online collection is available 24/7 on-campus or from your home (off-campus users are prompted for OIT username/passwords).
Database Search Tips. Search for articles from the list of library databases. Start with a broad-based multidisciplinary journal database. These databases cover key journals in all fields. Then narrow your research with discipline-specific databases. These databases search journals on a specific subject or field of research. When you find articles of value, locate the email button, and send the article to your email account.
Broad-based interdisciplinary databases. These multidisciplinary databases contain articles from thousands of the most well known scholarly journals. Most articles have been peer-reviewed for accuracy by other scholars, thus limiting the need for further evaluation.
• Academic Search Premier: Multidisciplinary database indexes 8,600 journals in all fields. Coverage: 1975 to present.
• Expanded Academic ASAP: Multidisciplinary database indexes 2,600 journals in all fields. Coverage: 1980 to present.
• Google Scholar: Accessing Google Scholar through the UMass library system lets you retrieve articles available here without cost. Always access Google Scholar via your UMass library account. When you do that, you will have access to more articles, because they have already been purchased by UMass.
• JSTOR: Archive of important scholarly journals across disciplines.
• PAIS International: 100 bibliographic and full-text databases and journals in four primary editorial areas: natural sciences, social sciences, arts & humanities, and technology.
Discipline-specific databases. These databases become especially useful as you narrow the focus of your research by allowing you to search a subject in depth from the perspective of a particular discipline.
ANTHROPOLOGY & SOCIOLOGY
•Anthropology Plus: The scholarly literature of archaeology and anthropology (biological, physical, linguistic, social, and cultural) in several languages, late 1800s to present.
•AnthroSource: The full text of the 32 journals published by the American Anthropological Association, some dating back to the nineteenth century.
•International Encyclopedia of Social & Behavioral Sciences: Articles, with bibliographies, from experts on all aspects of the social sciences.
ARTS & HUMANITIES
•Art Abstracts: Citations, abstracts (full text or links to full text) to articles in the field of art from international art publications, including periodicals, yearbooks, and museum bulletins.
• MLA International Bibliography: Citations to journal articles, books, book chapters, and dissertations, relating to literature, literary theory and criticism, linguistics, and folklore.
•Project Muse: Full-text articles from scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences published by Johns Hopkins University Press
BUSINESS & FINANCE
•ABI/Inform Global: Includes full text articles from Wall Street Journal Eastern edition, from 1984 to present. Strong coverage of academic journals.
•Business Source Premier: 8,000 trade journals, magazines, and periodicals on all aspects of business
• General Businessfile ASAP: Articles from 1,000 business journals and magazines.
•Communications & Mass Media Complete: Articles from the field of communications and mass media.
HISTORY & CULTURAL STUDIES
•Historical New York Times: New York Times newspaper articles 1851-2002
•Middle Eastern & Central Eastern Studies: Scholarly articles, books and book chapters on the countries and peoples of the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa.
•Quarterly Index of African Periodical Literature: Over 300 mostly scholarly periodicals from 29 African countries, 1991-present.
•Columbia International Affairs Online: Full-text working and position papers, books, and journals, from international affairs research institutes.
•International Political Science Abstracts: Citations to articles from international political science periodicals, 1989 to present.
•PAIS International: 100 bibliographic and full-text databases and journals in four primary editorial areas: natural sciences, social sciences, arts & humanities, and technology.
•Political Science: Sage Fulltext Collection: Full-text of 25 journals published by SAGE and participating societies, some journals going back 24 years, encompassing over 10,000 articles. It covers such subjects as General Political Science, Peace / Conflict Studies, International Relations, and Area Studies.
•PsycARTICLES: The full text of articles from 60 journals, 49 of them published by the American Psychological Association.
•PsycINFO: PsycINFO indexes the entire universe of psychology journals, dissertations, books, etc., and includes links to full text for all of PsycARTICLES–plus, links to the full text for any journals that are among the 30,000+ online journals that the library subscribes to.
•ATLA Religion Database: Articles, essays, and book reviews on all major religious faiths and denominations.
•Index Islamicus: Literature on Islam, the Middle East and the Muslim world since 1910.
•Index to Jewish Periodicals: Citations to English-language articles, book reviews, and feature stories in more than 160 journals devoted to Jewish affairs.
SCIENCE & HEALTH
•Animal Behavior Abstracts: Journal articles, papers, and field and laboratory summaries relating to animal behavior, 2006-present.
•Engineering Village: Citations and some abstracts for engineering journal articles, conference papers, and web sites.
•Environment Index: Citations to articles on the environment from scientific, legal, and popular journals, 1950’s- present.
•Health Reference Center Academic: Citations, some full text journal articles and health-related pamphlets, and entries from selected reference publications relating to health and allied health.
•PrimateLit: Citations to journal articles and other scholarly materials on nonhuman primates, 1940-present.
•PubMed: National Library of Medicine’s comprehensive database of citations to medical journal articles, with links to UMass-subscribed full text, 1966-present.
•Science.gov: Organizes access to agriculture, computer, health, energy and other current scientific information from U.S. government agencies.
•ISI Web of Science: Diversified scholarly information in the sciences.
Articles from journals in medicine and allied health fields.
•Zoological Record: Citations to periodical articles and other scholarly literature on zoology, biochemistry, behavior, ecology evolution, and genetics, 1864-present.
•UMass Libraries Database Locator: Use this locator to access more than 100 additional online databases.
Alternative databases: These databases become especially useful as you narrow the focus of your research by allowing you to search a subject in depth from the perspective of a particular discipline.
• Alt-Press Watch: U.S. alternative newsweeklies, covering issues like the environment, labor, public policy, and the peace movement.
• Ethnic Newswatch: Articles from the newspapers, magazines, and journals of ethnic communities in the United States.
• Gender Watch: Articles from scholarly journals and magazines about masculinity, feminism, homosexuality, and gender roles.
• UMass Libraries Database Locator
Help Is Available. If you have not used on-line database searches before or not used them effectively, resource staff members are available to help you at the Learning Commons on the lower level of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library. Staff hours are can be found at the Service Desk Website. Database research help is also available through the Library’s Ask a Librarian reference service.