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What are journal articles and how do I find them?
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
Types of articles
- Primary - these are first hand accounts of research that has been undertaken written by the researchers themselves.
- Secondary - describe, summarize, or discuss information or details originally presented in another source. These include review articles which summarise the current state of the knowledge on a topic (many databases allow you to restrict search results to this type of article). A more specialised secondary source are systematic reviews which use the existing literature to try to answer a specific question, often including a meta-analysis of the all the studies included in the relevant articles.
Finding journal articles
Search the Summon discovery service using the box below to find full-text journal articles available via the Library. Search using topic topic words or for a specific article title.
Search databases covering your subject
Alternatively try the subject-related databases listed below. They will give you references to journal articles - they may also give you the full-text of the article, or at least link you to the full-text if it is available online.
Key databases for finding journal articles
Access to articles in journals published by Elsevier from 1995 to the present, plus access to older articles in some subject areas. Also gives access to Elsevier e-books we have purchased.
Gives references to journal articles, books, conference proceedings and patents in all subjects. Also offers extensive tools to analyse results, and measure impact for articles, journals and authors.
Web of Science
Use to search across a number of databases covering a range of subject areas. Provides references to journal articles, books, conference papers, patents, research data and other materials.
CentAUR - University of Reading institutional repository [partial full-text]
The Central Archive at the University of Reading(CentAUR) is the University of Reading's institutional repository for research publications and equivalent research outputs.
IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences)
Gives references to journal articles, books, reviews and selected chapters in subjects including anthropology, economics, political science and sociology.
Getting articles not held at Reading
Our Inter-Library Loans service can get articles not held at Reading from other libraries (usually from the British Library).
For more information see our webpages:
Browse our journals with BrowZine
If you are having difficulties accessing articles via Summon or one of our databases see the links below.
If there is a problem with a Library e-resource please fill in a problem report form.
Video: finding a journal article from a reference
This video will show you how to find out if the Library has access to a specific article - online or in print.
Video: discovering online articles and chapters with Summon