General Article Databases
Databases are collections of thousands of articles (and often book chapters, book reviews, conference proceedings, dissertations, and other items) organized by subject. The Libraries have hundreds of databases covering every academic discipline. Some are multi-disciplinary, covering a broad range of subjects and including popular and scholarly sources, and others are subject-specific, and include scholarly and specialized articles. A complete list is available at Find Articles.
The following multi-disciplinary databases are good places to start your research:
Academic Search Complete
A multidisciplinary index to articles in more than 10,900 journals.
Lists journal articles, books, preprints, and technical reports in many subject areas (though more specialized article databases may cover any given field more completely). Some listings include links to related articles and to other sources that cite the item. Includes content from free resources (such as ArXiv.org and university websites) as well as subscription resources (such as electronic journals from selected publishers). Use the UC-eLinks option, when available, to find the UCB access to a publication.
Includes over 1000 scholarly journals with access to more than 2 million articles. JSTOR is an archive which means that current issues (generally the most recent 3-5 years) of the journals are not yet available.
Several hundred scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences. Topics include literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics and many others.
Where's the PDF?
Many article databases contain information about articles (citations or abstracts), not the entire text of the article. Once you've used an article database to find articles on your topic, you may need to use in order to locate and read the full text of the article. The UC-eLinks button appears in nearly all the databases available from the UCB Library website.
UC-eLinks will link you to the online full text of an article if UCB has paid for online access; otherwise, UC-eLinks will help you locate a print copy on the shelf in the library. If UCB doesn't own the article in print or online format, UC-eLinks can also help you order a copy from another library.
For more information, watch this video tutorial (about 4 min.)
You can also set up UC-eLinks to work with Google Scholar. For more information, watch this brief demo (about 40 seconds.)
Finding Magazine and Journal Articles
The Cal libraries have access to thousands of scholarly journals and hundreds of popular magazines, both electronically in and in printed format.
Not sure of the difference between a scholarly journal and a popular magazine? Journals contain articles written by experts (university professors, professional researchers) for other experts in the same field of study. Journal articles are usually very specialized and can be more difficult to read, if you are not already knowledgeable in the subject area. Magazines contain articles written by journalists or freelance writers, intended for the general public. Always check with your instructor to see if magazine articles are acceptable to use as sources for your paper!
Some good general resources for electronic magazine and journal articles are Academic Search Complete and JSTOR.
Academic Search Complete contains information about thousands of articles in magazines AND journals; limit your search to Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals to see only scholarly journal articles. Click "Linked Full Text" or "PDF Full Text" to read the whole article. All subject areas are included in Academic Search Complete.
JSTOR is an interdiscplinary (all subject areas) article database that includes only scholarly articles, from thousands of different scholarly journals.
What is Peer Review?
Your instructor may want you to use "peer reviewed" articles as sources for your paper. Or you may be asked to find "academic," "scholarly," or "refereed" articles. What do these terms mean?
Let's start with the terms academic and scholarly, which are synonyms. An academic or scholarly journal is one intended for a specialized or expert audience. Journals like this exist in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Examples include Nature, Journal of Sociology, and Journal of American Studies. Scholarly/academic journals exist to help scholars communicate their latest research and ideas to each other; they are written "by experts for experts."
Most scholarly/academic journals are peer reviewed; another synonym for peer reviewed is refereed. Before an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal, it's evaluated for quality and significance by several specialists in the same field, who are "peers" of the author. The article may go through several revisions before it finally reaches publication.
Magazines like Time or Scientific American, newspapers, (most) books, government documents, and websites are not peer-reviewed, though they may be thoroughly edited and fact-checked. Articles in scholarly journals (in printed format or online) usually ARE peer-reviewed.
How can you tell if an article is both scholarly and peer-reviewed?Read more