decorative image
Yale University Library decorative image
Research Tools Libraries and Collections About the Library Library Services
Orbis and Library Catalogs Databases and Article Searching Online Journals and Newspapers Research Guides by Subject Ask! a Librarian
Researching a Topic in 4 Easy Steps
Decorative Image
What do you need?    Books    Articles    Primary sources    Internet resources    Book reviews    Dissertations    Statistical information    Images    Videos    Music scores    Sound recordings    Internet reference sources   

Research assistance    More tips on researching at Yale    Printable version of this guide

Researching a Topic in Four Easy Steps:

Step 2a: Find out what has been written on your topic - Periodical articles

Periodical articles (also referred to as "journal articles" or "magazine articles") can be of two general types, both potentially useful in research:

Scholarly articles: These are written by specialists in their fields of study. They are published in journals aimed at specialized audiences usually identified by academic discipline (such as archaeology, Italian literature, economics, or biology) or by broad fields of study (such as the humanities, social sciences, or sciences).

You might want to consult scholarly articles:

  • as secondary sources in your research
  • as sources for the identification of primary sources

There are many indexes that can help you find articles in scholarly journals. Look in the Library's Research Guides by Subject for sections on "Locating Journal Articles", on "Indexes and Abstracts", or on "Databases" to identify the indexing tools most relevant to your topic.

General articles: These are written by a variety of authors and published in journals and magazines aimed at educated but not specialized audiences, or at the general reading public

You might want to consult general articles

  • for non-specialist treatment of a subject
  • as primary sources, indicative or reflective or the general or popular culture of a period or for contemporary non-specialist commentary on an event (see Serials as primary sources)

The most frequently used resources that index general periodicals and/or offer full-text access to articles are:

For information on actually locating the text of a specific article once you have a citation, see How to find a journal at Yale

Back to Researching a Topic in Four Easy Steps

© 2007 Yale University Library
This file last modified 07/31/06
Send comments to

image map of navigational links
Search this siteYale UniversityYaleInfoContact UsOrbis Library CatalogLibrary hours