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How to Find Journal Articles: What is a journal

Find articles for assignments more easily with this guide

What are journal articles?

Journal articles are usually more current than a book can be and also generally focus on a narrow subject.  They are also shorter in length than books.  

Examples of educational journals include JTE: Journal of Teacher Education  and EL: Educational Leadership.

Scholarly journal articles are written by experts in their subject area, their credentials are usually provided (qualification and institution they work at).  They are also likely to be "peer-reviewed" by the journal's review board.

How do I tell the difference between scholarly and popular articles?


Scholarly Publications

Popular Publications (magazines, newspapers)


noted expert in the field or academic discipline.  Credentials usually included

Journalist, popular author, or may not be listed.


Written in the scholarly or technical language of the subject area.

Written in non-technical language for anyone to understand.


Discusses a narrower topic within a scholarly subject area, e.g. primary education, special education

Discusses current events or general information on a topic for which little or no expertise is required.

Review and documentation

Reviewed by peers or other experts within the same field.  List of references or bibliography included.

Reviewed by editor or editorial board of the publication in which the article is published.  References not necessarily included.


Journal of Educational Psychology, Higher Education Quarterly, Journal of Research on Technology in Education

Zahrat Al Khaleej, Time, National Geographic, Arabian Woman

(table from Northwestern University with minor modifications: