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Finding journal articles and journals: Finding journal articles

A guide to finding journal articles and journals available to University members..

Journal articles are usually short papers on specific topics. In print they are published regularly in issues or parts, which combine to form a volume of a journal (also called periodicals). Online versions often retain the concept of volumes, issues and pages, although some online only journals use an article reference number instead, or just a DOI (Digital Object Identifier).

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
Types of articles
  • Primary sources - the majority of articles are first hand accounts of research that has been undertaken written by the researchers themselves. These are primary sources.
  • Secondary sources - describe, summarize, or discuss information or details originally presented in another source. The following types of articles are secondary sources:
    • Review articles summarise the current state of the knowledge on a topic (many databases allow you to restrict search results to this type of article).
    • Systematic reviews are a specialised form of review article. These usually seek to answer a specific question by using a reproducible method to gather relevant studies and evaluate the evidence. They often include a meta-analysis of the statistics derived from the relevant articles. For more information see our guide to doing a systematic review.

Finding articles in Summon

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


Watch our videos for an introduction to searching Summon to find articles.

If you are unable to view these videos on YouTube they are also available on YuJa:

Finding free Open Access articles

Take a look at our guide to finding free research resources which includes links to many sources of free, Open Access articles:

Finding articles in subject databases

The Library 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 dissertation or PhD).

Getting hold of articles found in a database search

Some databases will include the full-text of articles. Where this isn't the case look for the "Search for item at Reading" button or link 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. See the 'Finding journals' tab for more information.

If we don't have access to an article we can usually get it for you from another library via our Inter-library Loans Service. There is no charge for this service but there are restrictions on the number you can request.

Citing journal articles

The information you include in the reference will depend on whether the journal is published in print (but uploaded for electronic access), only published online, or is a version found in an institutional repository. You can usually tell the difference by looking for page numbers. If each article in the journal begins at page 1, or has no page number at all, it is likely to be an online-only journal. 

Elements to include:

  1. Authors
  2. Year of publication (in round brackets)
  3. Article title (in single quotation marks)
  4. Journal title (in italics, capitalise the first letter of each word except linking words)
  5. Volume number
  6. Issue number (if present, in round brackets)
  7. Page numbers or article reference number (Include the page numbers of the whole article when writing your full citation, not just the pages you have referred to)
  8. DOI or web link for online-only articles

See the examples in the other tabs in this box.

Examples for articles in print copies of journal articles or a print journal accessed online (e.g. on JSTOR)

Traditionally all articles were published in print format in issues which then formed part of a volume and this way of citing them (giving volume, issue and page numbers) has been retained even though most are now available online. There is no need to include the DOI or web address for articles with volume numbers and page numbers or an article reference number even if you accessed them online.

A single author:

Reference list: Gulddal, J. (2020) 'That deep underground savage instinct: narratives of sacrifice and retribution in Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death', Textual Practice, 34(11), pp. 1803-1821.

In-text citation: (Gulddal, 2020)

Two authors - include them both separated by 'and' or &:

Reference list: Thomas, D. and Tian, L. (2021) 'Hits from the Bong: the impact of recreational marijuana dispensaries on property values', Regional Science and Urban Economics, 87, article number 103655.

In-text citation: (Thomas and Tian, 2021)

Three authors - include them all, separate the first two with a comma and use 'and' or & before the third author:

Reference list: Adeyeye, S.A.O., Ashaolu, T.J. and Idowu-Adebayo, F. (2022) 'Mycotoxins: food safety, consumer health and Africa's food security', Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, 42(8), pp. 5779–5795.

In-text citation: (Adeyeye, Ashaolu and Idowu-Adebayo, 2022)

Four or more authors - include them all in the full reference, but for the in-text citation just state the first author, followed by et al.

Reference list: Moise, L., Gutiérrez, A.H., Khan, S., Tan, S., Ardito, M., Martin, W.D. & De Groot, A.S. (2020) 'New immunoinformatics tools for swine: designing epitope-driven vaccines, predicting vaccine efficacy, and making vaccines on demand', Frontiers in Immunology, 11, article number 563362.

In-text citation: (Moise et al., 2020)

Examples for online-only journals

If the journal is ONLY available online, you should include the DOI or the URL in the full reference. Online-only journal articles may not have page numbers or reference numbers, or pagination for each article will begin with '1'. The rules for in-text citations are the same as for print articles.

Article with a DOI:

Reference list: Mair, A., Poirier, M. and Conway M.A. (2021) 'Age effects in autobiographical memory depend on the measure', PLoS one, 16(10), article number e0259279. Available at:

Article without a DOI:

Reference list: Farrell, L.G. (2013) 'Challenging assumptions about IT skills in higher education'. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, 6. Available at:[]=173&path[]=138 (Accessed: 23 June 2021).

Examples for versions of articles found in repositories

Authors will often put versions of their articles into institutional repositories to comply with funding requirements to make the research Open Access. These may be pre-print versions (before peer review has taken place) or post-print versions, also known as author accepted manuscripts (the final version of the text, following peer review, to be published in the journal).

Pre-print example

Allen, R. J., Horowitz, L. W., Naik, V., Oshima, N., O'Connor, F., Turnock, S., Shim, S., Le Sager, P., Van Noije, T., Tsigaridis, K., Bauer, S. E., Sentman, L. T., John, J. G., Broderick, C., Deushi, M., Folberth, G., Fujimori, S. and Collins, B.  (2021) 'Significant climate benefits from near-term climate forcer mitigation in spite of aerosol reductions'. To be published in Environmental Research Letters [Preprint]. Available at: (Accessed: 24 June 2021).


For post-prints which are identical in content to the published version, you should cite the published version instead of citing the repository version.