How to Use Academic Journals Online Properly and Effectively

June 2nd, 2016    Admin    Journals

When writing a scholarly project or term paper, you need to get credible information from academic journals online. And while Google is an excellent search engine, it mostly lists information for ordinary web visitors who’re searching for information that’s not relevant to school work. Most academic journals also post their work on the internet at a fee, making it unlikely for Google to find them because it’s free to use.

So how do you find academic journals online?

Well, you have to use your library’s sponsored databases. Most databases buy publishing rights from journals so they can index their articles. They then sell subscriptions to libraries which want to access these databases. Most libraries do not charge their users but rather allow free access to the databases. You can rely on your library’s databases because they most likely only subscribe to the most credible ones.

You can also opt for instead of the standard Google because it lists academic articles. However, you must realize that Google cannot tell what a quality academic paper looks like, and will list anything that looks remotely like an academic article. It’s therefore up to you to do the filtering yourself.

7 Smart academic search strategies.

Regardless of which database you choose to use, you can rely on this academic search strategy to come up with high-quality academic journals online.

  1. Begin the process on the home page of your library’s website.
  2. Avoid going to the catalog, as it most likely lists books and records which are physically available in the library in the form of hard copy.
  3. Search for links to periodicals and databases, using the site’s search engine if you must.
  4. Find the database server EBSCOhost and then find the ‘Academic Search Elite’ database within that server.
  5. Choose a database that suits your needs.
  6. Filter your search to credible publications by using the peer-reviewed or juried publications checkboxes.
  7. Search single keywords of interest to see what results might come up. You may also search a researcher’s name to see what they’ve recently published.

How to find articles in a database.

Following these seven strategies, you’ll be able to come up with information on almost anything that interests you. But sometimes, you’ll find that you cannot find an article on your subject of interest. So what do you do then?

Well, you might have to search for articles with historical similarities to your subject of interest. Find out how things happened in the past regarding your topic. Here are a few tips on how to filter your results:

  1. If your search brings up a lot of results, add specific terms. For example, if ‘transportation safety’ brings up too many results, try refining your search to ‘seat belts’.
  2. If the search results are too few, try using synonyms or terms that are more general. Once you find some good results, use the search headings which the articles are filed under to conduct new searches.
  3. All databases include a help button which tells you how to use search operators such as ‘or’ and ‘not,’ restrict your search to specific languages or dates, etc. In case your instructor requires you to use sources which were published in a particular period, find a ‘help’ or ‘advanced search’ link to use.

Using academic journals online is a walk in the park when you have the know-how, and luckily, I just gave it to you.

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