6. How to find Journals

6. How to find Journals
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
 Identify a reference for a journal article
 Identify and locate a specific journal
 Select appropriate Online Databases for
your literature search
 Search systematically to identify relevant
journal articles
Journals will provide the most up to date information on your topic. Journals may also provide
you with specific information on a topic that you may not be able to find in books.
6.1 What is a journal?
Journals (sometimes called magazines, periodicals or serials) are collections of articles.
They are normally published at regular intervals during the year. They can be:
Quarterly (4 times a year)
Annual (once a year)
L&IS currently subscribes to many thousands of journals, of which the majority are available
Many journal articles will have a short ‘abstract’ (a summary) at the beginning. You can
quickly get an idea of the content of the article by reading the abstract. Recent issues of
journals in your subject area will have the latest thinking in that field, so you can keep up to
date by reading them. If you become aware that a particular journal regularly publishes
articles on your topic then you can often set up an alert to receive an email listing the latest
contents. See Section 9: Keeping Up to Date.
6.2 Finding Journals
To see which journals are stocked by the Library, you need to find out which journals are
available, both in print and electronically.
Using Journal Finder
Go to LibGuides and select the ‘Finding Journals by Title’ tab, scroll down to Journal Finder.
Type the name of the journal that you are searching for into the Journal name box.
You can choose from the drop down box if the name you have entered is an exact match, if it
is a keyword contained within the journal title or if it is what the journal name begins with.
If you know the date you are looking for you can enter this into the Year box.
Then click on Go to start the search and you will be taken to another screen*:
You can either click on Go here
to go to the journal’s web site
and view the journal
Or you can Click on Go here to
check The Catalogue for print
*Sometimes if there are other journals with a similar name you will first be shown a list of
possible matches to choose from.
Checking for print journals
Under the heading “Is a print copy available?” click Go. You will be directed to the information
about the journal on the library catalogue. Click the Check Availability link to see whether
you can access the volume/date that you require.
Location and shelfmark
indicate a print journal
Library has all issues of
print version from 1987
Issues before 1997 are
held in store and need
to be requested for
Location Web Site indicates an
Click on ‘Connect to ejournal’
in he record.
You need to interpret the holdings information carefully. The location, Middlesbrough
Campus, means that the journal is held in printed form in the Library. Printed journals are
given shelfmarks in the same way as books, but prefixed with a ‘J’. Journal shelfmarks tend
to be shorter than those of many books, because they are usually classified into broader
subject areas. So a book on active learning in higher education will be shelved at 378.12 and
the journal Active Learning in Higher Education is shelved at J378.
As with books, journals with the same shelfmarks are kept together on the shelves. There
can be many journals at the same shelfmark. To help you find particular journals, those at the
same shelfmark are arranged in alphabetical order by journal title. In the Library, printed
journals are arranged on Floor 3. Printed journals are not available for loan.
Most e-journals (and online databases) require you to enter a password when you
are accessing them off-campus. This is usually your ICT username and password.
Task: Finding Journals
At which shelfmark would you find the Animation Magazine in the Library?
What is the earliest year of the journal British Journal of Educational Psychology that
the University has access to electronically?
6.3 Understanding a Journal Reference
Journals are collected into numbered volumes, usually one for each year. To find a particular
journal article you would need to know the full reference, which usually includes:
 the title of the journal, the year it was published and its volume number
the name and initials of the article’s author
the title of the article
A journal article reference will usually look something like this:
Authors of article, surname and
first letters of forenames
Date of publication
Title of article
Senecal, C., Koestner, R. and Vallerand, R.J. (1995) ‘Self-regulation and
academic procrastination’, Journal of Social Psychology, 135(5), pp. 607-619.
Title of journal that contains the article
(usually underlined or in italics)
Page numbers in the
issue of the journal
Volume number and in
brackets issue number of
6.4 Finding Journal Articles
How you find journal articles depends on the information that you start with:
Do you have the details of a particular journal
article you are trying to find?
ROUTE A: You need to
search Journal Finder
using the Name of the
Journal. This is the
easiest route and the one
we will look at first.
ROUTE B: How do you
find an article without any
details? We look at this in
Section 6.6 of this
6.5 ROUTE A: Finding a journal article when you have a
From the ‘Finding Journals by Title’ tab in LibGuides, scroll down to Journal Finder. When
you are searching for an article, the more information you can include, the better, but the only
piece of information that you need to have is the name of the journal. If you have the exact
name and the details of the year that the article was published, it is useful to enter these here.
Then click on Go to start the search.
The results screen (see below) shows that this journal is available electronically from 1975
onwards. If you have any additional information you can add the volume, issue and start
page into the boxes. Finally, click Go to be taken to the article.
Date the journal is available
electronically from – in this case
What you see next will depend on the publisher of the journal – in this example you are taken
directly to the article and just need to click on the PDF full-text option to view the article:
Task: Finding a Journal Article
Q3 Find this article electronically:
Younger, M. et al. (1999) The gender gap and classroom interactions: reality and
rhetoric? British Journal of Sociology of Education, 20 (3), 325-341.
Which University are the authors from?
6.6 ROUTE B: Finding journal articles on a topic
When you need to find journal articles on a particular topic but do not already have the
appropriate references, you need to use an information source that indexes the journals in
your chosen subject area. This source will usually be in the form of an online database.
Online databases can be accessed via the L&IS website using LibGuides.
Choose a LibGuide from those listed to see the online databases recommended for your
subject area.
1. Click the tab
called ‘Finding
Journal Articles’
Scroll down the page to look at the databases recommended for this subject area.
It is very unlikely that just one online database will cover all of the
information that you may need for your dissertation. To make sure that your
search is comprehensive you need to search more than one database.
2. There are Factsheets
and Tutorials to help you to
use the databases
3. More information
about the subject
coverage of each
database is provided
by clicking on the
4. Click on the title of any
of the databases listed to
start searching
Once your search is completed you should be automatically taken to the results screen.
Some databases allow you to save the search results in folders.
6.7 Searching Specific Databases
Some databases provide the full text of complete journal articles, which you could then print
out or save. However, some only provide abstracts (summaries) and others just include very
brief bibliographic references of the articles, which you will then need to look for using the
Find it @ Tees link or the Journal Finder service.
While some online databases will only index journal articles, many cover other materials as
well e.g. conference papers, chapters of books, reports etc. Not all online databases cover
journal articles; for example you will find online databases that specialise in images. You will
find more information about other sources covered by online databases in Section 8: Other
Task: Choosing Online Databases
Try to identify 3 online databases that look like they would be worth searching. Jot down the
reasons for your choice. There are no right or wrong answers but once you start to search the
online databases you may find some cover your topic better than others.
Database 1:
Database 2:
Database 3:
6.8 Searching Online Databases
The only way to become really comfortable with searching online databases is to practise. To
help get you started there are factsheets and tutorials for some of the online databases – click
on the factsheet or tutorial buttons next to its name.
Task: Searching Online Databases
Now choose one of the online databases from your list and find out how to search it either by
looking at the factsheet or by doing the tutorial.
Once you feel comfortable using your chosen online database, have a go at searching it using
some of the searches you identified in Q5 of Section 3: Identify and Develop your Topic.
Record the details of how many results you find etc on the form on the next page. If you find
too many or too few results use the suggested strategies in Section 3.6 of this Workbook to
develop your search.
Name of database searched:
Describe your search:
(including search terms, any
Boolean operators, phrase
searching or other limits if
Why did you
choose this
Which was the most successful of these three searches? Why?
How useful was this online database for your subject area?
(e.g. how useful
were the results
of this search?)
It’s useful to keep this kind of record for all the searching that you do. As you find useful
journal articles note down or save all the details that you will require to find the item – (see
example of a journal reference in Section 6.3). In addition keep a note of where you found
the reference to the journal article, then if you’ve missed out any details you can go back and
find them. You will need all of this information if you can’t find the journal article in the Library
– See: Section 10: Getting hold of materials not stocked in the Library.
If you get in the habit of recording the details of the items you find in the
correct format it will save you lots of time later when you come to write the
bibliography and references for your assignments. See RefWorks
(http://tees.libguides.com/refworks) a tool that can help you to manage your
– see Section 12.
6.9 Cited References
Each journal article that you find will usually have its own list of references – looking at these
is another way to find journal articles on your topic. It may be that as you find more articles on
your topic you’ll notice that a particular journal article is often cited by authors writing on the
topic. If you do find an article that is frequently cited then you could try doing a “Cited
Reference Search”. A few online databases will allow you to do this - examples include
Scopus, Web of Knowledge and Medline. Doing this kind of search will bring back a list of all
of the other journal articles that cite the same article; this may help you to find other journal
articles and can give you some indication of how important a particular journal article is. You
normally do this kind of search by searching first for the article and then linking to a list of
other journal articles that cite it in their bibliographies:
Example from Scopus – click here to find a
list of articles that cite this article
To find out more about doing this look at the online help available from the online database
you are using.
6.10 Some Tips for Searching Online Databases
If the database does not provide the full text of the article, click on the blue
button to see if it is available electronically from another source.
Finding the right keywords to describe your search is the key to how successful you
will be. One way to help you find the right terms to search for is to find some articles on
your subject, then look at the subject headings they have been given and read the
abstracts. By doing this you might discover some alternative words you could search for.
Keep a record of where you searched, what keywords you used and how successful
you felt it was. By doing this you start to build up an idea of what works and what doesn’t,
saving yourself time in the long run.
Use the Help screens; a few seconds looking at these can save you loads of time
If you find nothing on your subject - ask for help. Your tutor and the librarians for your
subject area may be able to suggest alternative sources that you hadn’t thought of. Plus
just talking through what you are trying to do can sometimes help to clarify your ideas.
Some Common Misconceptions
Some students believe that if there is no link to full text in the online database then
the article isn’t available in the Library – check
- it may be.
Some students think that everything that they find searching an online database is
available in the Library. In fact we don’t own everything indexed by online
databases. For information about obtaining items not owned by the Library see:
Section 10: Getting hold of materials not stocked in the Library.