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POLS-110

Finding Articles

 

In this module, we turn to finding articles - specifically scholarly journal articles. We will address: 

  • the characteristics of different types of articles (scholarly, popular and newspaper)
  • how to locate a specific article when you have a citation, and
  • how to find articles on a topic using Proquest's Political Studies database
Articles are one of the best sources of information on any given topic. They can contain news, detailed analysis, or the results of a scientific study. Issued "periodically" in daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or irregular intervals, articles are found in a variety of publications including journals, magazines and newspapers and are now predominantly online. The second floor of Stauffer library contains the print journals (both current and bound volumes) to which the library subscribes.

articles

Scholarly journal articles are a critical source of authoritative information, as they contain the results of original academic research or experimentation. Scholarly journals are also referred to as "academic," "peer-reviewed," or "refereed" journals. Using scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles is usually a requirement in university course assignments.

 

Criteria

Newspapers

Popular Magazines

Scholarly Journals

Purpose/Intent

To provide information on current events.
Local and regional focus.

To inform or entertain readers on general interest topics in broad subject fields.

Report on original research or experimentation.

Author(s)

Journalists on staff or freelance writers.

Staff or freelance writers.

Scholar/expert within an academic field or discipline.

Editing

Newspaper editor reviews submitted articles.

Magazine editor reviews submitted articles.

Experts in the field review articles submitted for publication. Publications that undertake this editorial process are also known as peer-reviewed or refereed publications.

Intended Audience

General public.

General public.

Professors, researchers, college and university students.

Language

Simple, non-technical, easy to understand.

Some simple, others more demanding but still easy to understand and  non-technical.

Specialized vocabulary of the discipline.

Appearance

Black and white, some colour, containing many photographs and illustrations.

Slick, glossy, contain photographs and illustrations.

Shorter articles.

Serious look. Plain, black and white, containing charts, graphs, and tables.

Lengthy articles and academic level book reviews.

 

Advertising

Contain extensive advertising.

Contain extensive advertising.

Selective advertising. Few ads, usually for publications or services in the discipline.

Publisher

Commercial publishers.

Frequency varies but usually daily.

Commercial publishers.

Usually published weekly or monthly.

Universities
Scholarly presses
Academic/research organizations.

Published monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

References

Usually do not cite. Sources sometimes quoted in article text.

Usually do not cite. Sources sometimes quoted in article text.

Extensive documentation.
Bibliographies or references included.

Examples

New York Times
The Guardian
Globe and Mail
Ottawa Citizen
 

Harper’s
Maclean’s
Newsweek
Time

European Journal of Political Research;
Journal of Political Ideologies

 

Looking for a "Known" Journal Article

In the course of your research you will come across articles you want to locate through the reference lists in a course textbook, an instructor's reading list or other readings you may have done. In other words, you need to locate a "known item." A reference to an article has two titles: title of the article and title of the periodical (journal, magazine or newspaper) in which the article is published.

Cody, H., & Gillies, J. (2015). "The Canadian Party System and the Leadership of Stephen Harper." The New England Journal of Political Science, 8 (1): 2-49.

When you have a citation to an article you want to locate there are a variety of options for locating it.

Option 1: You can search Summon by placing quotation marks around the title of the article and adding in the author's name and title of the periodical if necessary.  Summon doesn't include everything, so if you don't find the article in Summon try steps 2 or 3 below.

Option 2: You can search QCAT for the title of the journal in which the article appears (but not for the article title or author of the article) by performing a Journal Title search.

You can also use the Journals A-Z tab on the library homepage to determine whether or not Queen's library has a subscription to the journal you are looking for.  From the Library Homepage, select the Journals A-Z tab, enter the name of the journal in the journal title box and click Search. Keeping the default set to "online and print" will maximize your chances of finding the journal subscription.

 

More often than not you don't have the benefit of an article or book title to get your research rolling but rather you have a topic. The best resources to use for locating articles on a topic -- but also the most challenging -- are the Library's subject-specific indexes and article databases.

The Library subscribes to hundreds of online article indexes and databases (over 650 databases at last count) on a wide range of subjects. WHY? Students often wonder why the library purchases pricey subscriptions to article indexes ('databases") when it is so much easier to use the web. Yale University Library has compiled an excellent .pdf summary that responds to the question: The Web vs Library Databases - A Comparison.

From the Library Homepage there are several ways to find an article index or database that covers the literature of your discipline. Our Research Guide for Political Studies provides a list of recommended article databases.

Proquest Politics Collection is made up of a pre-selected group of 4 databases covering literature published in political studies (PAIS, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Worldwide Political Abstracts, and Proquest Political Science). In addition to full text articles, the collection contains full-text dissertations, thousands of working papers, country reports, and government documents, offering an international perspective from leading and emerging academics, policy makers, and think tanks.

The following screen capture demonstrates a few of the most useful limits to apply to searches. In particular, note the limit to "peer review" and "scholarly journals."

Subscription-based databases contain content (citations or full text articles, for example) that is not freely available through other search tools such as web search engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo. These databases also provide a variety of search options including the ability to limit to scholarly journal content and full text. As such, these types of library subscription databases are your primary gateway to the scholarly literature in your field.

Multidisciplinary databases cover a range of subject areas.  If your topic does not fall neatly into one subject area, or if you would like different perspectives on your topic, these general databases can be a good place to start your research. The library has produced a subject guide to Multidisciplinary Databases in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Academic Search Complete is a multi-disciplinary index (with abstracts) to more than 10,900 publications including peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, monographs and reports. Approximately 50% of the journal titles also contain the full-text of articles. If the full text of the article is not available in the database itself, click the "Get it at Queen's" icon to search for the article's availability through Queen's Library subscriptions.

To access the database, if you know the name of the database you wish to search, you can enter it through the Databases tab. From the Library Homepage, choose Databases tab and in the "Title contains" box type: Academic Search Complete. Click Search: 

Selecting a database

 

[Academic Search Complete interface]

 

Summon is not just useful for finding books but can be used to finding articles on your topic. Use the limits, particularly the option to limit to articles from scholarly publications, including peer-review” to refine your search results:

Summon Search

Refine your search Summon Content summon subject terms

 

[Google Scholar] Google Scholar

Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com) is Google's scholarly search engine. It searches for scholarly materials including journal articles, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from a variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. It is useful as a supplementary search tool but not comprehensive enough in the area of political studies to be used exclusively.

Points to Consider

  • Coverage appears to be strongest in science and technology, and weakest in the humanities;
  • There isn't a way to focus your search on political studies materials (unlike when you search one of the library's specialized article databases);
  • Google Scholar only includes articles that are within reach of its crawler, which is a much smaller subset of scholarly articles than found in some of the databases subscribed to by Queen’s Library; and
  • In some cases the content is freely available in full text, while in other instances abstracts with links to pay-for document delivery services are displayed.

Customize Your Scholar Preferences: Get It @ Queen's

[Scholar Preferences] Click on the Settings "gear" located in the upper right hand corner of the Google Scholar search page to customize your Scholar Preferences (several preferences you can set and save). When searching Google Scholar from on-campus, the Library Links preference will already be set to allow for the Get it @ Queen's service. This service links citations in research databases to full-text articles or to the Library Catalogue or to other related web services provided by Queen's University Library.