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Journal articles

Finding journal articles

What are journals?

Journals (sometimes called periodicals or serials) contain articles by various authors.  Sometimes there are themed issues; sometimes the articles range across lots of topics. In the Education field there are two main types of journals:

  • Professional - news items and short, often practical, articles about teaching and educational issues, frequently written by teachers who are not necessarily engaged in research.  An example is Times Educational Supplement.
  • Peer-reviewed – scholarly articles (on recent research, methodology or innovation) read by subject specialists on an editorial board; and checked for accuracy and validity.  An example is British Journal of Educational Psychology.

 Why journal articles are useful

  • More up-to-date than books
  • Peer-reviewed articles are more reputable and scholarly than many websites 
  • Well-chosen articles can help to improve your marks (for demonstrating your research awareness, search and evaluative skills)
  • Get ideas on concise, academic writing (and how to reference)
  • 24:7 access to over 60,000 journal titles
  • Shorter to read and easier to carry (than books)

How to find journals (when you know where the article was published)

The library provides access to a wide range of journals on all aspects of education. The library catalogue links to both print and electronic copies with details of how long we have subscribed and any access embargoes to electronic journal articles (time delays set by publishers).

  • Print Journals - search by selecting the Journal Title option, then type the journal title (not the article's title)
  • Electronic Journals – repeat the above but filter your results by ejournals (see the drop down menu under 'View entire collection')
  • Use the advanced search on DISCOVER type in the journal title (not the article's title) and select the field SO Journal Title/Source.

Print journals are arranged alphabetically by title on the shelves.  Electronic journals are accessible from any internet-connected device.

Remember to search the catalogue by the journal title (usually in italics in a citation), not the article's title or author. For example, you should search for British Educational Research Journal if you want to find the following article:

Gorard, S. & Fitz, J. (2006). 'What counts as evidence in the school choice debate', British Educational Research Journal, 32 (6), pp. 111-123.

This flowchart summarises how to find journals from a reference.

Finding journal articles on a topic (when you do not have a reference)

The best way to find journal articles on a topic (like lesson planning AND interactive whiteboards) is to use DISCOVER.  This single search box allows you to search most of the electronic resources (includes most of our journal databases) and the catalogue simultaneously and provides you with current availability information on library catalogue items.

Click here for the guide '5 steps to using DISCOVER'.

Alternatively, if you prefer to search each database separately you can access the recommended education databases by

  • using the Database list on the menu (left)
  • searching for the database name in the Quick Search by title on the catalogue

Requesting articles

If you require a journal not held by the university, you can order a copy by using the Document Supply Service .  There is no charge for this service if you are a post-graduate or final year student.

Referencing journal articles

Once you have identified an article you want to cite in an assignment, look at our Referencing Guidelines to see examples of the layout.

University of Bedfordshire

Education» Journal articles