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ENVS 101 Environmental Science

Scholarly Articles: What Are They and Why Should I Use Them?

Scholarly journals are where the experts talk to each other. This is where the newest research and ideas are first published. Sometimes in some fields, researchers develop ideas from journal articles into books. If you cannot understand these articles, read encyclopedia articles for background in the field. Instructors frequently require scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. Peer review is when another expert in the field reads the article before it is published in order to confirm that the methods used in the article conform to the requirements of the field. 

One Search

One Search

After you type in your keywords and click search, you can filter the results to Peer-reviewed journals. Find the filters on the left side of the search results.

General Research Databases

Most of these databases include non-scholarly material. There are many ways you can filter your search results to only return scholarly articles. Each database looks different, but they all work on the same principles. There are tools that are often located on the left hand side of the database results which will help you narrow your search results. For example, you may want to check "Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals" to only find scholarly articles. You can also limit your search to certain years to be sure that the research you are finding is up to date. If you would like assistance finding scholarly articles, visit the reference desk at the library.

Science-Specific Databases

Google Scholar

Although our databases are not connected to Google Scholar, you can use Google Scholar to find articles about your topic.  It won't replace database searching, but it can supplement it.  Google Scholar will also tell you how many people cite the article, so you can gauge how well regarded the article is. 

Google Scholar Search

Resources from the University of Washington

The University of Washington Libraries is home to a large, academic collection of resources that would be great for your paper. You cannot check books out and you cannot use their databases from home. However, certain University of Washington Libraries are open to the public so you can go to campus and use the databases, read books and take notes. If you decide to take a field trip to the University of Washington, you may need to ask the librarians for help. Their librarians are great! Get to know them!