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Research Guides
Western Carolina University

Find Journal Articles: Home

Use this guide to find scholarly, full-text journal articles from Hunter Library's collection of databases, both subject-specific and interdisciplinary.

About this Guide

Welcome to this library guide where you will learn how to find journal articles.  You will also learn about types of journals, differences between scholarly and popular journal (periodical) articles, search tips, and best places to start if you do not know your journal or article titles.

Journal vs. Magazine

Journals are scholarly publications with research and review articles written by experts in the field.  These articles typically have undergone a peer-review process, meaning they are reviewed by other experts before they are accepted for publication. Journals may also contain other non-peer-reviewed material like news items and letters to the editor.

Research articles report on experiments that have been conducted by the author(s).

Review articles report on research related to a specific topic.  Review articles are good places to go for an overview of a topic.

An example of a peer-reviewed biology journal: Microbial Ecology

Magazines are trade or consumer publications with informational articles that may or may not be written by experts.  Magazines may contain news items, letters to the editors, and advertisements.

An example of a biology magazineScientific American

Scholarly vs. Popular

It is often difficult to determine the difference between the two types of periodicals - scholarly and popular.

Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines scholarly as: 1) concerned with academic study, especially research, 2) exhibiting the methods and attitudes of a scholar, and 3) having the manner and appearance of a scholar.  Popular means "adapted to or indicative of the understanding and taste of the majority... easy to comprehend." 

Click on the following link for more information on the differences between scholarly journals, popular magazines, and trade journals.

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