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Social Work Professionalism and Student Success: Finding Journal Articles

What are academic journal articles?

In basic terms, academic journal articles, also called scholarly sources, are written by scholars for scholars and go through a scholarly publication process. This scholarly publication process means that the article is published in an academic journal, not a web page, news source, or magazine. These journals usually put the article through some form of peer-review, which means it is vetted by experts in the field, and therefore considered more credible than information that hasn't gone through this process.

Below you will find some of the best places to locate these types of articles and some tips for how to search for them.

Types of Sources

Popular: Information published on web pages or in newspapers or magazines that are intended for general audience.

Trade: Information related to a specific profession that is more in-depth than a popular source and is intended for a professional audience, those currently working in the field.

Scholarly: Well-researched sources that have been written for scholars, students, and experts in the subject area.

Peer Reviewed: Scholarly articles that have been evaluated by other professionals in the field to check for accuracy and adherence to disciplinary standards.

Know the Difference

Article: Articles are the individual sources of information published in a newspaper, magazine, or journal (whether popular, trade, or scholarly). 

Journal: Journals contain a collection of articles published about a specific topic or subject area and are typically scholarly. 

  • Social Work (academic journal in which you would find peer-reviewed articles)

Database: Databases contain a collection of journals and other publications. They index millions of articles published in thousands of newspapers, magazines, and journals. There are databases that index sources from many different discipline areas, while others are subject specific.

  • PsycINFO (database in which you can find articles from academic journals like Social Work as well as many popular, and trade journals related to behavioral health)


Search Tips

1. Don't search as a single phrase - instead, break your topic up into main concepts and place each concept on its own search line, separated by AND

Search Methods Demonstration: Image I

2. Not finding enough sources? Think of synonyms for each of your concepts and combine them with ORS

Search Methods Demonstration: Image II

3. Use truncations to include multiple variations of a word, i.e. persist* (includes persist, persistence, and persistent)

Search Methods Demonstration: Image III

4. Use the Peer Reviewed or Scholarly Articles limiters in your search results

Search Methods Demonstration: Image IV