You may need to use articles from a range of different journal types in the course of your studies. You may be asked to only use articles from a peer-reviewed or refereed journal.

Find out about different journal types, including peer-reviewed, and how to find the articles you need.

1. What is a journal?

A journal is a magazine that focuses on a particular discipline or subject matter. Journals are sometimes referred to as magazines, periodicals, or serials. Journals:

  • concern a particular discipline or subject area
  • are published regularly (weekly, monthly, quarterly)
  • contain articles, book reviews and editorial content.

There are many types of journals, including:

  • peer-reviewed
  • scholarly and academic journals
  • trade journals
  • professional journal
  • current affairs journals.
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2. Why use journal articles?

There are many advantages to using journal articles for your research. Information found in journals is:

  • authoritative and often peer-reviewed
  • current
  • digestible (with an easily understandable structure: Abstract, introduction, methodology, discussion and conclusion)
  • provides information on a specific topic
  • answers a specific question (presents findings).

At the same time, journal articles are not suitable for all occasions. Journals articles generally do not provide:

  • an introduction to a subject area
  • a broad overview of a particular topic.
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3. Peer-reviewed, scholarly and scientific journals

Peer-reviewed articles:

  • go through an extensive editorial process before publication
  • are therefore of a very high quality.

View our video on Peer-reviewed articles:

Scholarly journal articles:

  • are written by someone with academic qualifications or expert knowledge
  • are evidence-based (and include references)
  • are aimed at a scholarly audience
  • may NOT be peer-reviewed.

Scientific journals articles:

  • report on new research
  • tend to be highly technical as they represent the latest theoretical research and experimental results
  • should supply enough information so that an independent researcher could repeat the experiment or calculation to verify the results
  • are peer-reviewed to ensure that they meet the journal's standards of quality and scientific validity.

How can I tell if a journal is peer-reviewed?

  • check the journal title on Ulrichsweb (look for the refereed icon grid_refereed.png)
  • visit the journal website, which may include peer-review information
  • some databases will let you restrict your search to peer-reviewed articles. To find out if the database has this feature, read the database help page
  • select the Peer-reviewed journals option in UQ Library Search.

Read more about the peer review process:

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4. Find a particular article

How you go about finding a journal article will depend on what subject discipline you are studying, as well as what information you have at hand. 

If you have the journal article citation, to get the full text of the article check in UQ Library Search first.

For example, to find this citation - 

Serry, T. A., & Oberklaid, F. (2015). Children with reading problems: Missed opportunities to make a difference. Australian Journal of Education, 59(1), 22-34. 

  1. go to UQ Library Search
  2. enter the article title - "Children with reading problems: Missed opportunities to make a difference"  
  3. verify that the result is the correct Journal, author, year, volume, page number etc
  4. click on the title to access or locate the article

Search UQ Library Search for the journal title to find out:

  • whether the library holds the journal
  • whether it is published online or in print
  • which database holds the journal
  • which volumes/years are held.

To search for journal titles:

  1. Go to UQ Library Search
  2. Select Journals from the drop down options
  3. enter the journal title, for example - Australian Journal of Education

If you only have partial information on the journal article, search Google Scholar for the full citation. Once you have the journal citation you can go back to UQ Library Search to look up the journal title.

View our video on Finding the full text of a particular journal article:

If you still can't locate your journal article, place a document delivery request and we will try to get it for you.

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5. Find articles by subject or keyword

UQ Library Search is a good place to start as it searches across many databases.

Searching further on your topic:

Get more tips on searching in databases.


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