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Waidner-Spahr Library

Research Process: Journals

Use this guide to as a basic guide to research. Information is included on how to use keywords and phrases, evaluate a source. This guide can also help you identify primary and secondary sources and expand or narrow your searches.

Searching for Journal Articles

If you are looking for a journal article, the best place to start looking is a database.  You can search databases by keywords, titles, authors, or subjects to find articles of interest to you.  All of our databases can be found here.  Or you can start by searching JumpStart, which searches about half of our databases at once, but note that it also searches the online catalog too, so you will also find books and dvds in our collection.

Finding Journal Titles

To find a specific journal title and see if Dickinson owns it or provides access to it, search the journal list.  You can also browse journals by title or by subject, though please note many journals are interdisciplinary and not easily categorized.

Finding a Journal Article from a Citation

Finding a Journal Article from a Citation

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What is a Journal?

Journals are publications that are printed on a regular basis - usually monthly, weekly, or semi-annually. Journals are also known as periodicals or, more simply, magazines.

Your professors at Dickinson will usually require you to use scholarly journals for your research.

A scholarly journal has a narrow subject focus. The articles are written by experts in the field who are conducting original research, or writing reviews or essays; and the articles are often reviewed by the author's peers. Articles in scholarly journals may include bibliographies (citations to books and articles) and abstracts (short summaries of the article). Scholarly journals usually have a serious "look," including few if any ads or pictures. They may, however, include graphs, charts, or diagrams. Scholarly journals are usually available only by subscription.

Scholarly journals may have the additional requirement of being peer-reviewed, which means that a panel of experts will review all articles submitted for publication.

A popular magazine is meant for entertainment or informational purposes. Authors are usually professional writers, but not experts in any particular scholarly field. Magazines will include lots of photographs and advertisements. The subject material will be wider in scope than that of most scholarly journals. Popular magazines usually do not contain bibliographies or abstracts. These are the types of periodicals you can find at a newsstand.

An index is the tool to use when you are looking for scholarly articles that have been published in scholarly journals. Indexes may take the form of printed books, which are usually arranged alphabetically by subject; or electronic databases, which can be searched in a variety of ways (by keyword or author, for example). The subject-specific pages on this pathfinder will suggest the most appropriate indexes to use for your specific search. The Dickinson College Library does not own every journal covered in every index. You may have to use  Illiad to obtain an article.

Dickinson College owns approximately 10,000 journal titles, 8,000 of which are electronic and the remaining 2,000 in print.

The Journal List is a searchable, alphabetic list of all the journals that Dickinson College owns in any format. The Journal List will tell you what issues of each journal we own.

To search for journals dealing with film studies, first access the Journal List. Change the selection box under "Browse Journals by Subject" from "--Please select a subject category--" to "Fine Arts and Music." Then click on "Motion Pictures." Most of the databases will allow you to perform a search within each individual journal once you choose one.

Most of the printed journals owned by Dickinson College are located on the lower level of the Library, east wing (the side closest to the HUB); and some are housed in various branch libraries around campus. Journals are arranged in alphabetical order by title. When you locate a journal title, be sure to read the details of the the record to make sure we own the specific issue or years you need.