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Finding Information: Journals

Introduction to Journals

We have over 40,000 eJournals at your disposal, searchable 24/7 via Discovery. The library is also home to several print journals which can be accessed at any time during our opening hours.

Journals are also known as serials or periodicals. They are published serially (in parts) several times a year. Journal articles are especially useful for exploring niche topics and keeping up to date with developments in your subject area.

Journals can be academic or professional in nature.

Academic Journals:

  • Contain research articles written by experts
  • Are typically reviewed for quality control
  • Include abstracts and bibliographies
  • Are published monthly or less frequently

Professional Journals:

  • Contain shorter articles that are easy to read and understand
  • Include more current information
  • May be published weekly or fortnightly


Why Should I use Journals? 

It's often tempting to rely exclusively on books and eBooks when conducting research. However, while books are valuable sources of information, they often cover quite broad topics and take a long time to be published. This means that they are often quite superficial and outdated.

Using journal articles for academic purposes, complemented by other source types like books and professional literature, offers several advantages: 

  1. Peer-reviewed and reliable information: Journal articles often undergo a rigorous peer-review process, where experts in the field assess the quality and accuracy of the research. This ensures that the information presented in the articles is reliable and trustworthy.

  2. Up-to-date and current research: Journals publish the latest research findings, allowing academics to access the most recent advancements and discoveries in their field. This ensures that their work is based on the most up-to-date knowledge available.

  3. Depth and specificity: Journal articles typically provide in-depth analysis and exploration of a specific topic or research question. They often include detailed methodologies, data analysis, and discussions, providing comprehensive insights into the subject matter.

  4. Scholarly authority and credibility: Academic journals are considered reputable sources within the scholarly community. By citing journal articles, researchers demonstrate their engagement with existing literature and establish the credibility of their work.

Test your understanding with the quick quiz below. 

Where can I find Journals? 

There are lots of ways to find appropriate, high-quality journal articles for your study: 

  1. Search Discovery. Remember, Discovery contains everything the Library owns or subscribes to, including all of our journal articles. Refer back to the information here for guidance. 
  2. Use the A-Z of eJournals to locate, access and browse a specific journal for suitable articles. Specific journals may be recommended by your course team, or suggested in your reading list and subject guide. 
  3. Try searching in a subject-specific database. Most databases contain articles from many different journals, collated for you to search together. For guidance on database searching, click here. To access our A-Z of eResources, click here

You may also want to try searching for articles in Google Scholar; while we generally recommend using the above search tools first, Google Scholar can yield useful information. To see if the library has access to resources identified through Google Scholar, copy and paste the title into Discovery. For more information about getting full-text access to resources, click here

Making the Most of Journals

When it comes to searching, what you put in determines what comes out; the quality and relevance of your results will be determined by the appropriateness of your search terms and techniques. 

Below are some simple top tips: 

  1. Select appropriate search terms. Not sure how? Check out our guide on Generating Keywords and Alternative Terms.  

  1. Avoid misspellings, typos, and unnecessary punctuation. Remember that search tools often interpret your search terms literally, if you enter an incorrectly spelt word, they'll look for that exact word!  

  1. Try phrase searching, denoted by double quotation marks (“ ”). This is a really easy way to quickly refine your results, it tells the search tool to look for your phrase (e.g., “graphic design” or “industrial action”) as one word. 

  1. Filter your results. Filters are restrictions or limits you can apply to your search results to return more relevant material, you can filter by publication year, content type, language and more.  

Check out our Enhancing Your Search guide for guidance on using boolean operators, field searching, and citation searching.