Journal articles and more

Use Library Search to search many of our journal and database subscriptions in one go.

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Help with journals

What is a journal?

Journals are publications focusing on a particular subject area or profession. They can contain articles, letters, and book reviews written by different authors. Journals are published at regular intervals, such as monthly or quarterly, which is why they are also known as periodicals or serials. Articles form part of an issue of a journal and are often grouped together in a volume. Usually each year is a separate volume although some titles are more or less prolific. Journals can be printed, online, or both.

Why use journal articles?

There are many positives for using journal articles in your assignments:

  • Can be more up-to-date as they are published more quickly than books
  • Often cover a subject in-depth and include original research
  • Aimed at an academic or technical audience, in contrast to newspapers and magazines aimed at a general audience
  • Often peer-reviewed, where content is checked by other experts in the field for accuracy and relevance

What does an article reference look like?

Article references are made up of the author(s), the year of publication, the article title, as well as the publication title and volume number, issue number and pages. Learning what an article reference looks like will help you identify the type of resource you are looking for.

For example: Chang, B, & Kang, H 2016. ‘Challenges Facing Group Work Online’, Distance Education, 37, 1, pp. 73-88


Breakdown of components of an article reference

How I can access articles?

There are different ways to access and read articles:

  • Use Library Search on our homepage and select the 'Journal Articles' radio button
  • Use the 'Journal Titles' button on our homepage to browse journals

Academic articles are also often found using databases. We subscribe to

  • databases that provide full text
  • and abstracting and indexing databases that provide references and abstracts but not full text (use these databases to get a feel for the research in a particular area)

Use the 'Databases A-Z' button on our homepage to see the databases we have access to.

You can also find journal articles using Google Scholar or at publisher websites. You will need to authenticate to access our subscribed titles when off campus  (show that you are a  member of the university by logging in using your University user ID and password). Be aware that we do not subscribe to every journal on a publisher's website. You are more likely to find subscribed content quickly and easily using Library Search on our homepage.

What do journal abbreviations mean?

Sometimes you may see an abbreviated version of the publication title in a reference. There are several sources you can use to find the full journal title, including Journal Abbreviation Sources (All that JAS) and Genamics JournalSeek. You will need to know the full title of a journal if you submit an interlibrary loan request for an article.

How do I use Library Search?

Use Library Search to explore our journal and database subscriptions, saving you valuable time by searching many publications at once. Remember to log in using your University user ID and password to gain full access. You can use the search box above, the Librry Search box on our homepage with the 'Journal Articles' radio button, or go directly to library.sunderland.ac.uk/discoverFTF.

More help

Do you have another question? You may find the answer in our FAQs.