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Journal Articles

What is a journal article?

A journal is a scholarly publication intended for specialists to learn about the latest research, news and views in a field. Journals can be published monthly, quarterly or yearly, depending on the publication. 

What is peer review?

Peer review journal articles are written by subject experts and reviewed by other scholars in the field. Peer reviewed material is considered more authoritative and reliable than non-peer reviewed articles and journals.

Journal articles often have a particular writing style and can be challenging to read compared to other sources. See the video below for tips on how to read scholarly material such as journals.

Finding and using journal articles

Search FiNDit using the keywords of the journal topic or title, and narrow by Peer Reviewed Journals and Available Online.

Alternatively, use eJournal - eBook Citation Search to access journals that are held electronically. This will link you with the databases or publisher collections containing those journals. You can also search within publications by entering the journal name in the From this publication field in FiNDit, along with your other search terms as necessary.

There are three types of journal articles you may encounter when doing your research: scholarly, popular and trade journals. Scholarly articles are the most suitable for University assignments.

  Scholarly Trade Popular


Original research and peer review process


Discusses current issues in an industry


Fast publication process as material is designed to be on trend 

Authority Author(s) are identified, qualified and academic experts in their field. Authors are usually identified, often have industry experience. Authors are often not identified, can be journalists, freelance writers, non-experts.
Purpose To provide the last research in a particular field. To keep up to date with developments in a profession.  To entertain

No advertising material.


Images or graphs generally support or illustrate research data

Divided into sections including abstract, literature review, data or methodology, results, conclusion and bibliography

Can contain advertisements

Brief, 1-2 sections

Photos may be included to support key points

May have an informal structure

Usually includes advertising and sponsored material

Brief, 1-2 pages

Photos included for aesthetic appeal

Often no formal structure

Reliability Contains extensive citations for credible sources May contain citations Rarely includes citations


How to check if an article is peer reviewed


Ulrichsweb serials directory is a very reliable way to check if a journal is peer-reviewed (refereed). Search using the name of the journal and then look for the black and white referee jacket. This indicates that the journals content is peer -reviewed. 


Many databases also offer a feature to limit results to peer reviewed journals. Note terminology may vary, look for terms such as reviewed, refereed or scholarly. See the example below from ProQuest Religion.



After you have entered your search terms in FiNDit use the peer-reviewed journals filter under 'refine my results' on the left hand side of the page.

Further Assistance

  • Problems accessing content? Try the Library’s online FAQ service AskUs
  • Can’t decide which database to use? Check the relevant Subject Guide for database suggestions
  • Search results aren’t useful? Visit Credo Research Skills to learn more about effective search techniques
  • Talk with a staff member at your library’s reference/information desk
  • Email your Research Services Librarian to arrange an appointment for individual or group assistance