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Finding Journal Articles

Interpreting citations, finding peer-reviewed journal articles and locating relevant guides to assist in locating journal articles.

Finding Journal Articles

This guide is intended to provide the basic information required for locating and identifying journal articles. It also directs users to discipline-specific guides which provide more detailed assistance in locating journal articles relevant to the chosen discipline.This guide is divided into sections which can be used depending on your needs.

 “Magnifying glass with infinite focus” By Niabot (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

1.   If you are having difficulty understanding a citation or determining the type of resource it refers to then please select the interpreting citations tab which endeavours to identify the components of journal-article citations in different referencing styles.

2.   Use Discovery and/or Google Scholar to find journal articles. Refer to the from citation to full text tab for explanations for locating items within Discovery results.

3.   Determine which individual databases or journal titles are relevant to your area of research in addition to guides which will facilitate access to the databases from the locating discipline-specific resources tab

4.   Ensure that you understand the scope of the subject under consideration. Try a guide for your subject area or one or both of the following: Beginning Research GuideDiscovery Guide

In order to locate journal articles for your subject area, it is recommended that you consult discipline-specific guides in addition to the how-to guides available from the University of Melbourne.

Some how-to guides include:

Beginning Research

New Library Users


Some guides which explain how to develop a search string include:

Health and Physical Education: Search Strategies

Australian Indigenous Education: Search Strategies

Conservation and Cultural Environments: Search Strategies


Please note that many guides relating to your subject area will provide strategies specific to your needs

If you find an article  in Discovery which the University of Melbourne does not hold, then try searching for the journal at other Australian universities using Trove. Whilst our staff and students are entitled to borrow some items from other institutions, journals are not able to be borrowed. It may be possible to go to the relevant library and copy the item if it is available locally.

University of Melbourne staff members, higher-degree and honours students can request journal articles which are not available at the University of Melbourne via Interlibrary Loans.

Some Basic Explanations

Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals: journals which are of a high academic standard due to being reviewed by academics in the field (may also be referred to as academic journals)


Periodical: a synonym for journal, but basically means they are published on a regular basis such as monthly


News: some sources may contain articles which can be used in research but sources may vary in quality. Please see our Finding News guide.


Academic Journals: basically the same as peer-reviewed journals


Reviews: reviews of scholarly resources are often included in academic journals but they are not in themselves academic


Magazines: journal of sorts but not necessarily peer-reviewed so be careful of including them as an academic source.

  • Check spellling - even enter your terms in Google to see what comes up under the 'did you mean?' For example, the word 'archaeology' may also be spelt 'archeology'
  • Once you have found an article which you have determined to be relevant, check the bibliography for articles cited which may be also relevant to your research.
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