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Tarleton State University Libraries Unit 3
JOURNALS: PURPOSE & USES
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image of journals   Journals offer collections of articles that are usually written by scholars in an academic or professional field. These articles often cover specific topics or narrow fields of research and are published by scholarly organizations. Library collections are valuable sources of print and electronic journals because even though some journals are available on the Internet, most require subscriptions. Few journals allow free access to their online articles.

Since journals are published on a regular or periodic basis they are grouped in the category called "periodicals," which also includes magazines and trade publications. However, articles in journals are evaluated by an editorial board (also called a jury or review board) of respected scholars to decide whether they will make a noteworthy contribution to the field and should be accepted for publication. Therefore, articles in journals are usually considered more reliable sources of scholarly information than other types of periodicals. Unit 6 offers more information about periodicals and their differences, as well as information about locating articles and citations in periodicals.

The following list shows some primary reasons to use journals as research sources:
•  to obtain scholarly research,
•  to read original research or experimentation,
•  to examine methodologies used in research or experimentation,
•  to find out what has been studied about a topic,
•  to stay informed about developments in an area of study, and
•  to locate bibliographies of other relevant research materials.
 
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Updated 7/2004