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Journal articles

At university, the term 'journal' refers to an academic publication, appearing in regular issues, normally focusing on a particular discipline, which makes new research available to the wider academic and professional communities. Academic journals are not to be confused with trade journals or the popular magazines that you might buy from a newsagent.

Journals are one of the most valuable sources of information available to you because

  • new research is likely to be published here first
  • the articles are written by the original researchers
  • they have very high quality control standards

Journal articles are usually very formally structured and will include not just the research findings but also a review of the pre-existing literature on the topic and details of the research methodology.

Peer review

Most academic journals are peer-reviewed or refereed, which means that, before an article is accepted for publication, the quality of the research is subject to critical evaluation by independent experts in the same field. Often an author is required to make revisions before the article will be accepted.

This process ensures that academic journals maintain very high standards of quality.

Learning centre journals

Journals can be very expensive and their articles are not usually accessible for free on the web.

The learning centres maintain print collections of journals at both campuses and we also subscribe to give you online access to thousands of prestigious journals through

Some journals in print

Photo credit: Sheffield Hallam University

Use the right tool

Use Library Search to find journal articles.

Or, for more in depth searches, check your subject guide to find which databases index journals in your subject area.