McMaster University


Finding Academic Journal Articles

Key Characteristics of an Academic Journal

  • approach is scholarly / theoretical rather than practical / applied. Articles make significant contribution to research in the area
  • subject area typically well-defined in front or back pages of each issue.
  • articles are properly referenced (footnotes, endnotes and/or bibliography)
  • articles typically selected by an editorial board comprised of peers (usually indicated inside the front cover)
  • presence of the word "JOURNAL" in the title usually a good indication
  • category does NOT include newspapers, popular magazines, trade publications, etc.
  • typically maintains its own editorial standards/style guide for submissions
  • typically no pictures; very few advertisements (if any); not glossy.

Three Modes of Access:

Library Catalogue (All formats)

e-Journal Portal

  • McMaster subscribes to thousands of electronic journals
  • List (with hotlinks) available via the library''s e-Journal Portal.
  • Library Catalogue records also indicate if an electronic version is available to authorized McMaster users
  • Electronic versions are sometimes limited runs (eg. rolling 12 months only). Period of coverage listed on the site.

Databases (e.g., Business Source Complete, CPI.Q, etc.)

  • provide access to hundreds of articles in journals
  • claim to be full text, but are usually "selective" in some ways
  • maintain large backfiles and robust search engines
  • all available via Library Catalogue or the Databases search

Innis Reference
Last Reviewed: August 30, 2007