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ENG 101

Resources and strategies for ENG 101 assignments.

Articles, Journals, and Databases

Articles? Magazines? Journals? Databases? What's the difference?

When you're reading the requirements for your assignments, you may see your instructor use lots of different words to describe the kinds of sources you are expected to use: books, video, articles, journals, databases, etc. Some of these are straightforward (you know what a book is!). Some can be a little confusing - articles, journals, and databases are often mixed up together. How do these three kinds of information sources interact?

  • Articles are written on specific topics. When it comes to what source you will end up citing, it is likely to be an article.
  • Journals collect and publish articles on a theme. For example, nursing journals publish about topics relevant to nurses. Magazines, trade publications, and newspapers also collect articles together in this way.
  • Databases group together journals and let you search for articles inside many journals (or magazines or newspapers or trade publications) at one time. 

The library provides subscriptions to both databases and to some journals not included within databases. You can use our databases to find articles, or you can search inside specific journals. Either way counts as using a library source!

Information about articles, journals, and databases is summarized in a graphic.

What are Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed Articles?

What are Scholary/Peer-Reviewed Articles?

Peer-reviewed articles play an important role in the spreading of new research in a given field. This special kind of articles generally has the following characteristics:

  • They contain original research completed by experts in the field
  • Before being published, they have been reviewed both by editors and by the authors' peers, who are also experts in the field
  • The review process includes questioning the content, methodology, and findings of the article
  • Authors are expected to revise and improve their work based on feedback from this process before the article can be published

Peer-reviewed articles may also be referred to as research articles, scholarly articles, or academic articles. All these terms describe the same type of articles.

Resources for Understanding and Identifying Peer-Reviewed Articles