Why are journal articles so important?
Journal articles, particularly those found in scholarly journals, are a very important source of scholarly research because they:
- Synthesize the latest research and theories of scholars, researchers, experts and thinkers
- Contain reviews of the latest developments, trends, and techniques in your field of study
- Contain information that is more current then what could be found in books and encyclopedias
- Often contain extensive bibliographic reference lists that can be used to direct you to other important resources for your research
- Sometimes contain topical information that cannot be found anywhere else
There are three different kinds of journals that can be found at the Tyndale libraries: scholarly, trade, and popular. For major research assignments you will be expected to use scholarly journal articles in your bibliography.
1. Scholarly or "Peer-reviewed" Journals:
- Published by research centers, academic presses, or professional associations
- Written by researchers or experts in the field (i.e. faculty, researchers, experts, etc.)
- Contain the academic credentials and/or institutional affiliations of the author(s)
- Are reviewed and critically evaluated ("peer reviewed") by a board of experts in the field
- Tend to be longer - more than 5 pages - in length
- Contain bibliographies, endnotes, and footnotes
- Are written using the scholarly or technical language of the discipline of study
Examples of scholarly journals:
2. Trade Magazines
- Published by professional or "trade" organizations
- Written by staff writers or specialists in the industry
- Often, but not always, list the credentials and/or institutional affiliations of the author(s)
- Are usually reviewed by an editor
- Tend to be moderate - around 5 pages - in length
- May, though not often, contain a short bibliography
- Are written using the language of the industry
Examples of trade magazines:
3. Popular Magazines
- Published by commercial presses
- Written by journalists, staff or freelance writers
- Rarely, if ever, contain the credentials and institutional affiliations of the author(s)
- Are usually reviewed by an editor and are not "peer reviewed"
- Tend to be shorter - less than 5 pages - in length
- Rarely, if ever, contain a list of cited resources
- Are written using the language for a general audience
Examples of popular magazines:
You can limit your searches to "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" journal articles in most databases. You can also use other helpful limits such as "year of publication", "subject", "descriptor" and more.
Try using the Advanced Search options to access these and other useful limits during your scholarly research. For a list of the most important databases used for the study of religion, please visit the Religious Studies Databases page.