You’re in college now and there’s an expectation to make good use of the all of the resources you have available to you. One of the main types of resources you’ll find professors ask you to use are peer-reviewed articles. Peer-reviewed articles, also called refereed articles, are those articles that are published within academic journals after they’ve been rigorously reviewed by other scholars in the same field. The idea behind the peer-review process is to bring experts in a particular field together to enter into a critical dialogue by analyzing the content, theories and research of each other’s articles. This dialogue is then used as a spring board to build new ideas and conversations.
If you’ve ever watched a contestant get reviewed by panelists on Top Chef, Dancing With the Stars, American Idol or Project Runway, you’ve seen a peer-review in progress! Check out this video to find out more:
So why use a peer-reviewed journal? Because you’re writing as a new scholar in the field, your professors want you to enter into the dialogue of the literature of that field and peer-reviewed journal articles are the best place to find that conversation happening — outside of class, of course.
Okay, now that you know what they are and why you would use them, where can you find them? More often than not, scholarly journals are available only by subscription, much like any other magazine you might pick up at the convenience store. Since academic journals can be expensive, the Libraries subscribe to those articles for you and you can access most of our journals online through our library databases. Search for your topic using specific keywords and you’ll soon immerse yourself in a world of scholarship. Alternately, you can access many peer-reviewed articles via Google Scholar, too!
– Find Articles Using Databases
– Google Scholar
– Popular vs. Scholar vs. Trade
You’ve been Googling for hours, trying different combinations of search terms, skimming through hundreds of web pages, even going so far as to buy a book on Amazon that sounds like it might have something remotely about your topic. But you sense that you’re missing something from your research. And you are: library databases!
Think of library databases like miniature Googles (not goggles) for specific areas of study. The UT Libraries pays for access to these fancy databases which contain articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals, and more. It’s basically all the stuff that you wouldn’t be able to find for free out there on regular webpages. Since you’re a student at UT, your tuition dollars pay for these articles already — so if you’re asked to pay for something, put your wallet away and don’t pay twice!
So what’st the big deal — why use one? Well, these databases will provide you a one-stop-shop for finding a lot of the research you’ll need for your papers, whether it’s magazine articles, newspaper from the 1800s, or scholarly research. Librarians have carefully cultivated a list of databases that we think will cover many of the areas of research you’re looking for, including tips and tricks on how to use specific databases.
Of course, you can always use Google Scholar to find articles you’ll need, but sometimes using a subject-specific database allows you to get even more specific with the types of information you’re looking for.
From the LexisNexis Academic wiki’s Tip of the Week:
“Did you know you can get up-to-date news coverage about Japan in LexisNexis Academic?
LexisNexis Academic has added two new index terms to make it easier for you to access continuing news coverage of the Japan’s nuclear disaster following the earthquake and tsunami. To find news stories about Japan’s disaster, choose one of the following New Index Terms:
* March 2011 Japan Nuclear Disaster
* March 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami
Click on the Power Search form and then “Subject” in the “Add Index Terms” section. Click the “Find” Radio button and type in “March 2011 Japan”. If you need more help searching the index, click here to use our guide.
For more information on the Japanese disasters, search the Japan Times, the oldest English-language paper in Japan.
You’re hot on the trail of a really awesome journal article and the only thing standing between you and that article is to actually, um, find it. You may know how to find articles that mention your topic, but how to find a particular article without wasting half the evening trying to figure out which database it’s in? Sure, you could Google it, but then it brings up all sites that charge you $20 for an article. Now what? Simple: use the journal and article title to guide you on your scavenger hunt. It can sometimes be tricky, so don’t let it drag you down. If you need help, just ask!
Many of the libraries resources are available to you with just a click of a button – but with different database layouts, interfaces, and custom colors, it can be a bit unwieldy to try to find the article you’re looking for. That’s why at UT we have the Find it at UT button.
It’s a gold button that you’ll see each time you log into a database. This button links all of the library’s electronic resources together so that you can easily go from one to another without have to go back to the library’s homepage and start from scratch. If you don’t see a PDF icon or the text of an article listed on the page, look instead for the Find it at UT button.
When clicking the Find it at UT button, expect one of the following to happen:
- You’ll be linked directly to the article in a different database (so expect to see a different interface from the one you were originally browsing in)
- You’ll be brought to a different database that, upon searching the title of the article, will bring you to the article you’re looking for; expect to copy the title of article you’re searching and search within the new database.
- You’ll be told that the UT Libraries doesn’t have electronic access to that journal; expect to check for print within the library’s catalog.
- You’ll be told we don’t have electronic or print access to that article; expect to fill out an InterLibrary Loan request for that item.
And, of course, if you’re really stuck or think we do have online access to something that Find it at UT says we don’t, definitely Ask a Librarian. We’re here to help!