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History 111: Finding Articles

What's the difference between scholarly and popular sources?

Your instructor said that you cannot use the Internet to find sources for your paper. Instead, you have to use "scholarly journals" and other academic resources from the library. So what does that mean?

Scholarly journals are published by universities, societies, or associations of specialized fields. Articles are written by scholars in that field who present the results of original research and experimentation or provide technical or professional information. They go through a peer-review evaluation process before being published. Peer-reviewed articles are reviewed by other scholars in the same field who provide feedback about the article's quality, accuracy, relevance to scholarship in the field, validity of research methodology and procedures, and more.

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly journal images

  • Focused on a particular field of study
  • Based on original research or experimentation
  • Written by scholars or experts in a particular field
  • Read by professionals, students or educators in the subject area
  • Use scholarly, technical, research-oriented language
  • Include references, bibliographies or footnotes
  • Contain little or no advertising

Periodical Titles

Browse or search invidual titles like:

journal of american history cover



Browse the United States History periodical list to view a list of all of the titles that the library subscribes to in electronic and print and format.

Popular Magazines

Popular magazine images

  • General interest stories or entertainment information
  • Based on fact-finding and/or opinion
  • Written by staff writers or journalists
  • Read by the general public
  • Easy to understand language
  • Usually do not include references
  • Contain lots of colorful advertising

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a web search engine that indexes the full text of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats  disciplines.

It does not always have the full text of the article but gives you the citation which you can use to find the full article elsewhere.

**Tip: you now use Google Scholar to search the some of the library databases (Ebsco & Proquest)! Just follow these steps to get this service working on your computer:

  1. Go to Google Scholar.
  2. Click on the "Google Scholar" link in the upper right-hand corner).
  3. Scroll about 1/2 down the page and type in Mt San Jacinto in the the "Library Links" field & press the "Find Library" button.
  4. Check all of the MSJC options that appear and click on the "save preferences" button at the top or bottom of the screen.
  5. Search for articles on your topic. You should now see links to full text articles (you will see the links to the full text on the right-hand side of the page) that are available through the library database as well as other articles that are available on the web.

Note: you will also see articles that do not have the full text, only the citation (author, title, date, etc.). If you want to use one of these articles, you can request it through our Interlibrary Loan Service. Remember, though, it can take up to two weeks for the article to get here.

You can see these steps illustrated in this video.

Google Scholar Search

Magazine, Newspaper and Journal Databases

Search these databases for articles in magazines, newspapers and journals.

  • EbscoHost - Search from a wide range of research databases for magazine and journal articles. Updated daily.The easiest way to search for journal articles is to select all of the modules and after completing your search, limit your articles to peer reviewed sources. Click here to search the Academic Search Premier Module. This module has over 4,600 journal titles. Make sure to check the "Peer Reviewed" check box.