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Using Journals : Using Journals

Accessing Journals

What is a journal?

A journal is a regular publication that is published weekly, monthly or quarterly. They are subject based and contain articles written by experts or professionals in that subject. University of Suffolk library has a wide range of journals, available both in hard copy or online as e-journals
Journals may also be referred to as periodicals and serials, they are just different words for the same publication.  

How do I find journal articles?

You can find journal articles by using our resource discovery tool, Summon. this tool will also highlight key databases for your search, and allow you to search them individually.

More about journals

What is a journal?

  • A journal is a regular publication that is published weekly, monthly or quarterly.
  • Journals are subject based and contain articles written by experts or professionals in that subject.
  • Examples of journals are, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Art in America and International Journal of Tourism Research.
  • Journals are also known as periodicals and serials – they are just different words for the same publication.
  • Journals are also known as periodicals and serials – they are just different words for the same publication.

Find more information about Journals in the Assignment Planning Toolkit

Why should I use journals?

  • Journal publication time is much quicker than for a book.
  • Using information from journals will keep you up to date and informed of new developments in your subject.
  • Articles are more specific than books. A journal will give you more detailed information in a more concise format.



What kinds of journal are there?

There are two broad types of journal: professional and academic/peer reviewed


  • Submitted to an editor who decides what to publish, not peer reviewed
  • Short articles, look more like a magazine
  • Current ‘news’ stories
  • Usually no reference list at the end of the article

Academic / Peer Reviewed:

  • Written by an academic, who is a specialist in the subject
  • Submitted to an editor, who then passes the work to other professionals or ‘peers’ for a critique, the work is then passed back to the original writer for changes to be made before being published
  • Longer articles, heavily text based
  • Very little or no advertising
  • Charts, tables and images are included
  • Properly referenced with a bibliography at the end of the article

Understanding Journals

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a summary of the research written in a small number of words (typically half a page at most)..

They're often found at the beginning of dissertations, theses, or journal articles.  The abstract should give the reader enough information about the research to make them recognise its significance and assess whether it is relevant to the particular area they are researching. 

This section is important because it potentially saves you time reading, by allowing you to get a feel for the contents of the article without having to read through it entirely.


What is peer review?

  • Peer review is an important process applied to research articles before publication. Peer review involves the article being read by professionals and experts in the field to assess the quality, significance and relevance of the research. 
  • This process can highlight errors in the research process, duplicated work and flaws in experimental design. If there are problems with the research then the article is returned to the original authors for further work.
  • Reviewers are selected based on their knowledge of a subject area, they will be specialists in their field, they will be expected to retain confidentiality about the paper that they are working on and be objective and fair.
    The time-scale for the review process is usually about two weeks.
  • Once a peer reviewed article is published it is 'recognised' as a piece of work of value and importance.
  • Post publication discussion about the work undertaken in the article usually continues through letters to the editor and further debate among the research or academic community.

What are Impact Factors?

The Journal Impact Factor is a method of ranking a particular title against others in the field. Ranking is undertaken annually and arrived at using a formula based on the number of times articles in a particular journal have been cited in the previous two years divided by the total number of articles published in the journal title in the last two years.

Journal Impact Factors are primarily used in the scientific publishing community, but are increasingly being applied to humanities journals

How do I find out the impact factor of a journal?

You can access Journal Citation Reports (JCR) through the Web of Science database

Once in Web of Knowledge select Additional Resources and search for the journal title that you want to find.

Where can I find print journals in the library?

The University of Suffolk Ipswich library provides students with a small number of print version journals. 

The print journals are located in the back corner of the University of Suffolk Ipswich library, in the Journal Archive Room.

Whilst some students prefer to access print copies of journals, it is important to remember that the majority of journals available for access are online, and can be found using Summon, or the A-Z of ejournals link. 

Requesting Articles

If you're unable to find the article you're looking for, we can order articles for you using the resource request service. You should check the service details for your local University of Suffolk library.

University of Suffolk Ipswich students:
You can request to order an article by completing the correct form and returning a signed copy to the Information Desk at the library. 

The number of article requests available to you depends on your level of study.