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SPED 8026: Program Development in the Life Span: Getting Started

  Important Forms

Peer-reviewed, Scholarly Articles

Professors often insist that your research papers include scholarly journals and peer reviewed articles.

What is a scholarly journal?

These are articles written by people considered to be experts in their fields. They spend years conducting experiments, reviewing other literature on the topic, and writing their article. It often goes through a very intense review process to make sure the information is objective and accurate. It can often take a year or two for it to be published.

What's the difference between a peer reviewed journal, academic journal and scholarly journal?

Nothing - all three are just different names for the same idea.

How can I tell if an article is scholarly?

Here are some things to look for in order to determine if an article is scholarly:

  • Often start with an abstract, or summary, of the article.
  • Include footnotes or bibliographies.
  • Generally are longer than articles in popular or news magazines.
  • Are reviewed (refereed) by an editorial board and revised before being accepted for publication.
  • Include the language, or jargon, of the subject discipline. It assumes some degree of subject knowledge by the reader.
  • Report original research or experimentation results.
  • Are authored by subject experts, researchers, or scholars in their fields. Author credentials are frequently listed.
  • Are published by professional organizations, such as the American Medical Association's Journal of the American Medical Association or the National Council on Family Relations' Journal of Marriage and the Family.

How can I find these articles?

Many of the library databases allow you to limit your search results to journals that are scholarly, academic and/or peer reviewed. That does not mean that you will only get scholarly articles though as these types of journals will also publish items such as letters to the editor or book reviews. You want to review the articles that come back and make sure they meet the qualifications.

Search for Peer Reviewed Articles

You can access all of our databases from home. When you click on the database link you will be prompted to login; type in your Falcon Key username and password (the same as you do for your email and blackboard accounts) and you should be good to go.

Journal Locator Search Tool

Type in the name of a journal to see if the AVGC Library has access to it online or in our print collection:



Searching in Databases

Limit Options:

Most of our databases, including ERIC, provide limit options that you can use to help narrow your search. Most databases have at least these two limits:

  • Full Text - Check this option if you only want to see the articles that have full text available in that database. When you use this option keep in mind that you may not be seeing some really great articles that you need for your research and you may have access to through one of our other databases, our print collection or our Interlibrary Loans service.
  • Date Range - Use this when you want the database to exclude any articles that are too old to use in your research. Often your professor may state that you can only use materials from the 5 or 10 years.

ERIC and many of our other databases provide additional limits you may want to use such as:

  • Scholarly Journals / Peer-reviewed Journals / Academic Journals (name differs, but they all mean the same thing) - Check this option when you only want to see articles written by professionals in the field which are submitted to the publisher for review by experts in the field before they are published in professional, scholarly journals.
  • Publication / Journal Name - This tells the database to only search within a specific journal for articles on your topic.
  • Image Types - This tells the database to only keep the articles that include images such as pictures, diagrams, charts, etc.
  • Publication Type - You can specify if you only want newspaper articles, journal articles, books, audio files, etc. The type of files you can select from will depend on the type of resources the database contains.

Limits unique to ERIC:

  • Intended Audience - This tells the database to only bring back materials that were written for the audience level you selected such as administrators, teachers, students, parents, researchers, etc.
  • Educational Level - If you select an educational or grade level from this list such as early childhood, middle schools or grade 5, you will only see materials that address that level. The benefit to this limit is you don't need to use a search term to narrow your results down by educational level.
  • ERIC Number - Every document in ERIC whether it is an article, book or some other publication type is assigned a unique ERIC number by the database which you can search by even if you have no other information. If the item is an article published in a journal, the ERIC number starts with EJ. If the item is any other type of document (book, report, speech, etc.), the ERIC number starts with ED.

Special Search Functions:

ERIC and many of our databases also offer special searching functions which can be really helpful. When you are in a new database click on Help to see what is available. A couple of the functions to look for are:

  • Truncation Symbols - The truncation symbol is usually an asterisk "*". When you have a search term such as teenager you can type in the root of the word followed by the truncation symbol and the database will look for all forms of the word and retrieve the articles. So if you typed in teen* the database would look for teen, teens, teenager and teenagers. It is also great for when you want to get the singular and plural forms of a word.

    An important thing to keep in mind when using truncation is where you truncate the word and what type of database are you in. For example if you are in an Education database and you type bull*, you will get articles on bullying. However the same truncated search term in a general reference database will get articles on bullying, cows, rodeo, bullets, etc.

  • Wildcard Symbols - The symbol is usually a question mark "?" or a pound sign "#". The symbol substitutes for a letter when you are not sure of the spelling. For example if you are looking for articles written by Ann Reid but you're not sure if her last name is spelled Reid or Reed you can type in Re?d and the database will look for both names.

  • Including Phrases in a Search - Some databases assume that if you type two or more words together and don't separate them by using AND, OR, NOT, that the words should be treated as a phrase. Other databases assume that several words typed together are words to be searched individually, just as is you had typed OR between each one, and need you to tell it by enclosing the words in parentheses or quotation marks that they are actually a phrase.

Instruction & Research Services Librarian

Renée Fratantonio's picture
Renée Fratantonio
HA-106, Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library, Hammond Hall