How to Search for Journals

Research papers are described as a piece of academic writing. It is written based on the author’s interpretations and analysis of the research findings on a particular topic. A research paper can either be in form of a term paper, a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation.

After you might have chosen a research topic that interests you, the next thing to do is to sort for information. For so many people, this is the most difficult aspect of writing a research paper. Especially, with the stress of having to go through a lot of materials to be able to find the one that is particular to your research topic. There are many sources to find information for your research paper like; Wikipedia, textbooks, other research papers and journals.

For the purpose of this article, we would concentrate on how to search for journals that would help in writing your research paper.

A journal is a collection of scholarly and peer-reviewed articles. They present the most recent research articles written by experts for experts and are published on a regular basis throughout the year. Publication of journals is either in print or online and sometimes, both.

Peer-reviewed articles are articles that have been reviewed by other professionals with the same academic background as the original author. For instance; say a biologist wants to publish the result of a really exciting research he just conducted on the effect of a particular toxic plant on snake bites. First, he has to write a paper on his findings and then send the thesis wherever he wants to publish it. The editors of the journal then send copies of the paper he has written to other experts or professionals known as “peers”. These peers then examine or study the paper carefully. If they conclude or declare that the paper is acceptable, the paper is then published as a journal.

On the other hand, a scholarly journal is one that is used to support ideas. Authors of scholarly journals usually have advanced degrees in the field they are writing about. There is use of formal language, use of terminology and it is usually written in the third person.

For the purpose of clarity, I will be highlighting the differences between a periodical, a magazine and a journal.

While Periodicals, also known as series refer to any publication that comes out regularly or occasionally (TV Guide, The World Almanac and the phone book are all periodicals), Magazines are periodicals aimed at the general public and contain news, personal narratives and opinions. The articles in magazines are usually written by professional writers that may or may not have expertise in the subject.

It is important to understand that magazines are not necessarily bad or low quality information wise, they just are not designed to support academic research. This is because; they lack the depth of scholarly journals and do not document the sources of their information.

Now you know what a journal is, it is time to understand how you can search for and find journals.

You can search journals with the aid of a journal database.

A Journal database is an online library where you can find journal articles. Each journal database contains thousands of articles making it easier for you to find your topic of interest. There are a variety of journal databases and search engines containing journal articles across many disciplines. A few are;

1. Academic search

Academic search was published in 2007 with the name Academic premier. It is an array of over 8,500 full-text periodicals, including but not limited to 7,300 peer-reviewed journals. Subject area cut across animal science, mathematics, physics, religion and theology, veterinary science and a lot of other disciplines. Thus, it is often referred to as a multidisciplinary journal database.

2. African Journals Online (AJOL)

AJOL contains journals across many disciplines and houses over 350 African-published peer-reviewed articles and includes both open access and subscription-based journals.

3. Anthropological Index Online

Is an academic journal indexing service for anthropology.

4. BioOne

Is a nonprofit publisher of scientific research journals. It houses more than 180 scientific journals in biology, entomology, omithology, plant science, ecology and environmental science.

5. Chemical Abstract Service

It is a division of the American Chemical Society and is located in Columbus, Ohio, United States. It is a source of chemical information. With approximately 8,000 journals, technical reports, dissertations, conference proceedings and new books, available in about 50 different languages.

6. ScienceDirect

Is a website which provides subscription-based access to a large database of scientific and medical research. It has an array of over 12 million pieces of content including 3,500 academic journals and 34,000 e-books. The journals available are grouped into four main sections; physical sciences and Engineering, Life sciences, Health sciences and social sciences and humanities.

7. JournalSeek

An online database covering academic journals. It houses journals published by over 5,400 publishers. It is a multidisciplinary database and offers journals in different languages.

How do you find information for your research project on these databases?

Once you are able to identify a database that offers information on the discipline your research is affiliated with, you can search for that website or database online. For example; search for “www.ScienceDirect.com” on Google or your preferred search engine.

The next page that displays is the journal database home page you have searched for. Once you have been directed to the home page, you can now begin to search for the journal you need.

You can make your search by:

  • Inputting the name of the author for the journal you are searching for.
  • By using keywords contained in your research topic. For example, you can search your research topic.
  • Another alternative is to search using the journal title. This will work only if you know the title of the journal you are looking for.
  • You can make your search by inputting the volume number, issue number or page number of the journal you are searching for.

Journals are a great firsthand source of information needed to write any project paper. They are written by professionals and have in depth information on what is needed to write a beautiful research paper. Practice with the tips I have provided, It should become considerably less difficult for you to find relevant journals for your research paper.