How to find journal articles

Journal articles are usually short papers on specific topics. They are published in issues or parts of journals (also called periodicals) which appear regularly. Use articles to find:

  • up-to-date research in your subject
  • reviews of developments in your subject – these review articles include extensive lists of references

Finding articles using Summon

The easiest way to find journal articles on a topic is to search Summon. This service searches across articles held in all the journals covered by our subscriptions. One search on Summon will also find relevant content in our e-books, online encyclopedias and other sources.

Find articles using subject-related databases

The LRC subscribes to databases which you can search to find relevant articles. These allow you to run more precise searches than is possible in Summon, and will extend your search beyond our collections (vital if you are doing a literature search for your PhD).

Getting hold of articles found in a database search

When searching databases just click on the ” Search for item at Reading ” button next to each reference. This will link you directly to the article if it is available online as part of our collections. You can also search the catalogue automatically to find out if we hold the print journal.

If the article isn’t available here we can usually get it for you from another library – contact us for further information.

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. Our peer reviewed journal articles guide explains what peer review is and how to find peer reviewed articles.

Find out about different journal types and how to find the articles you need.

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.

Why use journal articles?

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).

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.

Find a particular article

If you have the journal article citation, to get the full text of the article check in 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 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 Library Search for the journal title to find out:

  • Whether the library holds the journal
  • If 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 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 Library Search to look up the journal title.

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

Journals are academic magazines where researchers publish peer-reviewed articles. They can be quite general or cover very specific subjects. New issues come out several times a year.

What is a journal article?

Journal articles are the individual pieces of research in journals and are usually substantial contributions to knowledge. Each journal article cites and references many other journal articles and will (hopefully!) in turn be read and cited by the authors of new articles. Peer-reviewed journal articles are the mainstay of academic research and one of the most commonly used sources in coursework and academic writing.

What is peer review?

Peer review is a quality control process whereby academics review each others' work to check that it has been researched rigorously and contributes to the discipline that the journal covers. You can find out more about peer review here.

How can I tell if a journal article has been peer-reviewed?

  • Use the 'Academic', 'Scholarly', or 'Peer-reviewed' button in your search results.
  • Check the journal's homepage. Search online for the title of the journal, and the homepage will usually tell you.
  • Ask your librarian!

Why are peer-reviewed articles so important?

  • Peer review is a measure of quality and authority in an article, the 'gold standard' for research.
  • Your lecturers expect you to use peer-reviewed research in your coursework, especially in the literature review section of projects, to get the best marks.
  • Reading and using journal articles is a great way to stay up-to-date with current research in your field.

Finding highly rated research

These databases enable you to carry out a citation search. You can use them to:

  • Identify journal articles
  • Find out how many times they have been cited
  • Discover journal impact factors.

Want to learn more? Check out the Library Guide on Research Impact to learn more about measuring the impact of research and bibliometrics.

Web of Science is a multidisciplinary resource which enables simultaneous cross-searching of a range of citation indexes and databases. It provides access to research tools like citation reports and cited reference searching.

Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature: scientific journals, books and conference proceedings. It covers international research output in the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and
humanities and has smart tools to track, analyse and visualise research.

Identifying Highly-Rated Journals

The CABS Academic Journal Guide 2018 is a good way to work out what the most highly rated academic journals are for inclusion in your project. Use the red 'Register/Log In' button under the page title to view and download a copy.

You can then find the direct link to these journals in our subscriptions using our Journals A-Z- search for the journal title, not for individual articles.

Limiting searches to highly rated journals

Want to limit your search to 4* journals?

Follow these steps to search only for articles published in highly rated journals.

  1. Use the CABS Academic Journal Guide to identify the journals you’d like included in your search.
    • You’ll need to register in order to view the list
    • Once you’re in, find your subject in the dropdown menu to see the highest-rated journals
  2. Log in to Business Source Ultimate and select Publications from the menu at the top of the page.
  3. Search for each journal title you identified in Step 1 in the Browsing box (the smaller box below the main search box).
    • Find it in the results
    • Tick the box next to it and select Add to add it to your search box.
    • You’ll notice that it appears in the top Search box.
    • Search for each subsequent journal you want to include in your search in the Browse box.
    • When you’re done, you'll see each of the journals on your list. Hit Search. Business Source Ultimate will remember this search.How to find journal articles
  4. Use the advanced search in Business Source Ultimate to search for your terms. Don’t review the results yet.
  5. Select Search History beneath the search boxes. You should see the journals title search you carried out as well as your advanced search of terms. Tick the boxes next to each of these search items. Click on the box Search with AND.How to find journal articles
  6. Review your results. If there are too many or too few, adjust your advanced search in the Search History section.

Please note, while you can see titles and abstracts for most materials, you will likely not have access to the full-text of every journal. Look for the i s it @ City Library? link for access to the full text.

Expert tip: Business Source Ultimate remembers search history from a single session, but once you’ve logged off, your search will be lost.

If you want Business Source Ulitmate to remember your searches between sessions, you can sign up for an individual Business Source Ultimate account. To get started click Sign in on the upper right of the screen and find the option below the login area for ‘Don’t have an account? Create one now’ and follow the prompts to register.

DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.

All DOAJ services are free of charge including being indexed. All data is freely available.


DOAJ is independent. All support is via donations.

Journal publishers don’t need to donate to be part of DOAJ.

News Service

DOAJ receives funding from the French National Fund for Open Science

Supporting the inclusion of J-STAGE journals in DOAJ


Introducing our new Board and Council members

In support of Ukraine

Action plan for Diamond Access

Tweets by @doajplus


DOAJ would not be able to do the work that we do without our volunteers.

Humanities, Social Sciences

Alicia Aparicio

Buenos Aires, Argentina (Spanish)

Librarianship, Scholarly Publishing, Data Management

Fei Yu

Brisbane, Australia (Chinese, English)

Humanities, Social Sciences

Geoff Husic

Lawrence, KS, USA (Russian, German, English)

Lut Tamam

Adana, Turkey (Turkish, English)

Humanities, Social Sciences

Natalia Pamuła-Cieślak

Toruń, Poland (Polish, English)

Paola Galimberti

Milan, Italy (Italian, German, English)

Recently-added journals

DOAJ’s team of managing editors, editors, and volunteers work together with publishers to index new journals. As soon as they’re accepted, these journals are displayed on our website, freely accessible to everyone.

Unlike magazines, journals are usually scholarly and often peer-reviewed (more on scholarly and peer-review here). They contain research-focused articles written by experts in their field.

Finding journal articles with SEARCH

  1. Enter your search words into SEARCH.
  2. Authenticate with your UOW username and password.
  3. Under 'Availability' select 'Available online'.
  4. Under 'Source Types' select 'Articles'.
  5. Refine your results with other filters such as Publication Date, Peer-reviewed Journals or Subject.

Finding full-text journal articles using SEARCH

Click 'Available Online' or click the title, then under 'View Online' select a database and log in.

Finding journal articles in databases

Database search interfaces can feel very different from your standard Google search box.

The good news is SEARCH may already index the database you need to use. If that's not the case, use these tips to help you get started.

Which journals do I have access to?

The journal search identifies all the journals you have access to while studying at UOW.

You can search using a number of filters such as title, keyword, ISSN, and subject (and there are a few special options available for our medical students).

One thing you will notice is there are often multiple options listed for the same journal. Simply select a database that carries the date range you need.

Academic articles are published in academic journals. They are usually more up-to-date than published books.

Peer-reviewed means that articles have been reviewed by ‘peers’ (other researchers working in the area) of the authors.

Ask a Librarian if you need help confirming peer-review on a particular article or journal, or if you are unsure what type of article you are looking at.

Video:Types of articles and where to find them (3:30s)

Where to search

Library Search searches multiple library databases simultaneously. It covers most of AUT Library’s journals.

  • Enter your topic keywords or the title of the article in the search box on the AUT Library website
  • In the ‘Articles & more’ section, select ‘See all results’
  • Check the ‘Peer reviewed’ box under ‘Refine results’ to limit to peer-reviewed articles

Finding articles using Library Search (2:26s)

Multidisciplinary databases, such as Scopus or Taylor & Francis Online, cover a wide range of subjects.

Subject-specific databases, such as ERIC or PubMed, are collections of academic journal articles that concentrate on a specific subject area.

Many Library databases also offer ways to limit your search, so you can find:

  • Scholarly (peer reviewed) journals
  • Articles from a particular date range
  • Articles tagged with relevant subject headings
  • Highly cited articles

AUT Google Scholar gives you access to articles published in scholarly journals.

AUT articlelinker will connect you to full-text articles available through the Library.

Plan your search:

  • Break down your search topic into key ideas
  • Identify key words and phrases to describe those ideas
  • Combine the words and phrases in a search
  • Refine your search, if necessary, to narrow (focus) or broaden your results
  • “quotation marks” to search words together as a phrase
  • AND to join concepts
  • OR to search alternative keywords (synonyms)
  • A truncation symbol (often an asterix *) to help you search variants of a keyword. (Note that you cannot use truncation in Google or Google Scholar.)

Example topic: Sustainable tourism in developing countries

Example in Library Search: Articles & more – Advanced Search

How to find journal articles

Video: Using Keywords (2:18s)

Your Liaison Librarian can help you search databases effectively. You can also book in for a Library workshop on using Library databases.

If AUT Library doesn’t have an article you need, it is likely to be available through our networks of other libraries worldwide, or through open access options.

If you have discovered the article by searching in Library Search, click on ‘Check for other full text’ in the ‘Availability’ box. Search again and request from another Library.

If you still haven’t found what you need please login to the Interloan service with your AUT username and password.

For more help with journal title abbreviations, contact your Liaison Librarian.

To find journal articles on a specific topic, search the library catalogue and relevant journal databases.

Search the library catalogue for articles

To get started, search the catalogue for full-text articles available through many of the Library’s electronic subscriptions.

  • Under the “Resource Type” tab (on the right side of the screen), select Articles and enter keywords that describe your topic
  • And search
  • If you only want peer-reviewed articles, modify your search by selecting “Peer-reviewed” on from the left column

Tip: The catalogue search does not include all library databases and does not cover all subject areas equally. For a comprehensive search, visit Research and journal databases page. To identify the top databases recommended by Waterloo librarians, consult Research guides.

Search the library databases for articles

Databases usually provide more advanced and flexible search options than the library catalogue. They allow you to explore the full range of information on a topic.

  • To view all subject specific and multidisciplinary databases, visit Research and journal databases page
  • To identify the top databases recommended by Waterloo librarians, consult Research guides

Typically, databases allow search limit by date, language, document type, peer-reviewed (also “refereed” or “scholarly”) articles, and full-text documents.

Link to full-text journal articles

Some databases provide access to the full-text articles, while others only supply article citations, with or without abstracts.

  • To see if a full-text article is available, look for Get it! @ Waterloo button or other links such as HTML, PDF, or full-text

Request journal articles

  • If the library catalogue has the online journal but online access is restricted, follow the “Request an article” link in the record on the search results page
  • If the library catalogue has the print journal with your article, get it from the shelf OR follow the “Request an article” link in the record on the search results page
  • If the library catalogue does not include the journal with your article, request it from other libraries through Interlibrary loan (ILL)

Get help

For assistance with using databases and other library resources, contact Librarians by subject or Ask us.

When you are researching an assignment or working on an extended piece or research such as a dissertation, you may often find that you need to find articles on a topic or subject. In this situation you don't have the references to specific articles, rather you want to know what has been published on a topic and then read these articles.

You can do a quick search for articles on a topic using SUPrimo's 'Articles + Databases' tab.

However, for more in-depth and comprehensive searching you will need to use subject databases – particularly abstracting and indexing databases. These databases enable you search across a huge number of journal titles at the same time and often provide links to full text articles. Alternatively, you can use the bibliographic information to find the articles on other electronic resources or in the Andersonian Library (or other libraries).

Using SUPrimo Articles + Databases search to find journal articles by topic

One way of finding journal articles on a particular topic is to use SUPrimo's 'Articles + Databases' search and search using keywords associated with the topic.

(N.B. This search does not cover all journals that you can access online or in the Andersonian Library, but it is a quick way of finding articles which are covered by this search.)


If you have a particular topic for an assignment e.g.:

Effective marketing of craft beer in Europe.

1. Go to SUPrimo:

How to find journal articles

2. Select the 'Articles + Databases' search and enter keywords associated with the topic:

3. Select the search button.

4. A list of results is displayed. If you have a lot of results, you can refine these in the column to the left of the results.

5. Look for relevant articles in results:

6. Select 'Full text available'. You then see a list of services where to can access the article:

How to find journal articles

7. Follow the link to your preferred service and log in, if required. You may go straight to the article or you may go to the journal home page depending on the particular journal and the service you have chosen. (If you are taken to the journal home page, you will usually have the option to either search or browse for your article.)

8. Once you have found the article, you can read it online or choose from print download or email options.

How to find journal articles

Using databases to find journal articles by topic

Database services enable you to search across and access a huge range of sources including journal articles, book reviews, research reports, policy documents, case studies, legislation and many more types of document.

Database services can be general in coverage or very subject specific. Some services are comprised of many individual databases, which can be searched separately or cross-searched simultaneously. As well as easy to use basic search options, you can use powerful advanced search options in some databases to retrieve relevant documents. Databases also offer options to sort and refine results (e.g. by publication date, whether peer-reviewed, type of document, etc.) or search within results.

By using database services subscribed to by the University you will be able to search more effectively and retrieve materials you might miss otherwise if using general internet search engines.

Database services can be:

  • Abstracting databases provide comprehensive indexes to journal articles, books, book chapters and reports. Use references found on these databases to locate full-text documents or use the button to check for electronic and print availability.
  • Full text databases provide access to the full text of documents.
  • Hybrid services combine abstracts with full-text documents where available.

How to find the best databases for your research

If you know the general subject area of your research but don’t know which databases are available, then you can look at the relevant subject guide. Subject guides give you a list of key databases in your area:

Alternatively, you can view an A-Z list of databases available to you and select from this:

If you know the name of the database you can search for this using SUPrimo. Simply enter the the name in the search box (using the 'Library Collections' tab) and select search. You can then follow links to the database from the results record:

This guide explains how to find journal articles using print and online resources in our library.


Most legal journals produce annual indexes at the end of each year and these are bound with the journal issues into an annual volume. These indexes are normally arranged by:

  • author
  • legislation
  • case
  • subject

There’s no definitive list of which journals produce indexes, so you have to check each journal for each year.

Many journals have their own website and an archive which may go back for decades. Some journals give free access to articles on their websites, some provide articles on a pay per view basis.

Some publishers list their journals and provide free abstracts. Oxford University Press provides abstracts for some of the journal articles on its website. Cambridge University Press offers a similar service.

1947 to 1983 Legal Literature Index

We have a subject index, compiled in-house, of a small number of major law journals from the period 1947 to 1983 (1978 to 1980 is missing). This index is useful for older material, as online indexes do not go this far back. The index is held in store, ask library staff to use it.

The main journals included are:

  • Justice of the Peace
  • New Law Journal
  • Law Journal (the pre-1965 title of the New Law Journal)
  • Solicitors Journal

Other titles are included for some years, but not every year.

You can find a complete record of the contents of the index by searching for “legal literature: journal article index” in the library catalogue.

Ingenta Connect

IngentaConnect is a database which has abstracts of articles for scholars. You can buy some of these articles through its website.

LexisLibrary Journals Index

LexisLibrary is a subscription database which indexes articles from a range of journals and contains the full text of some journal articles. Publishers include:

  • Bloomsbury Professional
  • Informa
  • Cambridge University Press

You can only access our LexisLibrary subscription in the library. Ask library staff for access.

Westlaw UK Legal Journals Index

Westlaw UK is a subscription database which contains over half a million article abstracts from UK and English-language European journals. It also contains full-text articles from journal titles published by:

  • Sweet & Maxwell
  • Oxford University Press
  • Cambridge University Press

You can only access our Westlaw subscription in the library. Ask library staff for access.

Contact our enquiry service if you need us to search for journal articles. We can send you up to five abstracts from Westlaw UK free of charge.