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Searching for scholarly journal articles

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All disciplines have any number of journals in which scholars publish “scholarly articles,” which are considered secondary sources in the humanities. Often, these scholarly articles are peer-reviewed, meaning other scholars read and evaluate them before they are published. This process of evaluation ensures that the journal publishes only top-quality research in the field. More or less all peer-reviewed journals are considered scholarly, but many scholarly publications do not incorporate a peer-review process for article selection. Whether peer-reviewed or not, scholarly (also referred to as academic) journals are often a central place to gather secondary sources on a topic.

The library provides you access to a range of databases, many of which contain scholarly articles. One such database is JSTOR, which contains journals from the first publication year up to five years before the current year, and also published primary source materials, some of which date back to the 19th century. Another is Project Muse, which also includes a number of scholarly journals that publish in the fields of literature, American studies, education, and ethnic studies.

Using JSTOR and/or Project Muse, locate at least one scholarly article published in a historical journal in the last 30 years that can help you learn about the historical roots of your contemporary issue and begin to answer your research question.

In JSTOR, be sure to narrow to the item type to “Article,” so you do not get book reviews (usually only 1-3 pages in length). While reviews can be helpful in finding books, you cannot substitute them for full-length scholarly articles for this project. Also, remember to narrow to history journals in the “NARROW BY DISCIPLINE” area.

In Project Muse, after you’ve done your search, limit your results to “Articles” from the “Content Type” (see left side of the results screen) and to history journals by clicking the “History” check box in the “Research Area” limiter space.

Most likely you will find relevant articles in either JSTOR or Project Muse. But, if not, you can also search Historical Abstracts for your history journal article. You may also substitute an historical essay in a book-length edited collection (each chapter is typically authored separately). This cannot also count for a book-length monograph unless you’re using the bulk of the essays for your research. 

Add the scholarly articles to your Bibliography using the sample bibliography or the Chicago-Style Quick Guide as models. In the quick guide, locate the unnumbered example for a “Article in a Print Journal” (the example is author Joshua Weinstein).