Articles from magazines, journals, and other periodicals are an important part of academic research. Depending on your topic and your assignment, you will need to choose the most appropriate research databases to find information sources for your research needs. This guide will help you identify good research tools for beginning researchers.
General article indexes are broad research tools, encompassing multiple types of resources and multiple areas and disciplines of study. General databases may include general readership periodicals, scholarly journals, and/or news sources in their collections. Because of their wide scope, general databases are often the preferred starting point for student research queries.
Like general research databases, subject-specific databases encompass a broad array of different types of information sources. Unlike a general database, though, the information in a subject database is focused on a particular discipline. Subject databases are helpful for finding information on topics within a field.
Scholarly journals, also known as peer-reviewed or academic journals, represent the foundation of academic discourse and scholarship. Written by experts in a field for experts in a field, articles in scholarly journals are subject to a vigorous pre-publication process known as peer-review to help ensure that the articles presented are of high quality. Scholarly journals are often the preferred sources for academic work.
News sources capture current happenings and events at the local, domestic, and international levels. News sources are updated frequently, sometimes even multiple times per day. While news articles tend to be brief, news articles are an excellent source for research on contemporary issues, current controversies, and evolving issues. Newspapers also provide valuable historical insight on key events and individuals active on local, national, and international stages. The moon landing, the Cuban Missile Crisis, 9/11, and more can all be explored through historical newspaper articles.
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