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Beginning Research and Finding Resources in the JSCC Library

This guide is designed to assist students in performing basic research using JSCC Library resources and online resources

Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Journals -- What's the Difference?

Scholarly Periodicals publish articles that are useful for serious scholastic research; often, instructors insist that students use only scholastic periodicals for their research work. 

Scholarly periodicals are also referred to as Academic Journals or Academic Newspapers, Journals, or Refereed Journals.  "Refereed" means that not only is the journal edited, but that every article included in the journal is reviewed by authorities in the subject field of the journal, to decide whether or not the article should be published.

Some criteria of a scholarly journal or other scholarly periodical are:

♦  The journal is  mostly read by people involved in or interested in the field of study covered by the journal

♦  Articles are often lengthy and include footnotes or endnotes and works cited information

♦  Graphs, charts, statistical information, and tables are often used to support the text or research

♦  The vocabulary is geared to the field of study covered by the journal 

♦  The articles are very often peer-reviewed (refereed)


Non-Scholarly Periodicals publish articles that are not considered or meant to be of a highly serious, scholastic nature. 

This is not to say that the articles in any given non-scholastic magazine or newspaper are false or badly written.  It only means that, for scholarly research purposes, non-scholarly periodicals do not have the recognized level of authority that a scholastic journal usually has.

 Some criteria of a magazine or other non-scholarly periodical are:

♣  The periodical appeals to a general audience; the vocabulary is geared to all readers

♣  Graphs, tables, and research studies are seldom included

♣  The articles usually do not have footnotes, end notes, or bibliographies (works cited)

♣  The articles tend to be short in length, usually under 10 pages

Finding Journal Articles in JSCC Library Databases

Periodical articles -- articles from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers -- are wonderful sources of current information.   

The JSCC Library databases include many thousands of full-text and indexed journals, magazines, and some newspaper articles.  These databases can be found by going to the JSCC Library website:

Then look on the left-hand side of the page and hover over "Find Resources" and then click on "journal articles"  You will then see a list of subjects.  Choose "Academic and General Interest" for databases that cover all topics.   You can also choose a subject and get a database on a specific topic.

Or, if you want to research in newspaper databases to find articles in newspapers and news blogs, transcripts, and wire services, you could choose the "Newspapers" category.

Click into a subject area link, to get to the titles of the actual databases. 

All databases have brief descriptions included under the title; read these, to get an idea of what the databases provide users in the way of information and periodical coverage.

You can also view the entire collection of JSCC Library databases in alphabetical order.

Any given database might look very different from another database; this is because databases are created and maintained by different vendors.  BUT, all databases have a few points in common when it comes to searching them for information:

  • Databases are searched by using keywords; users can type various combinations of keywords to get different results, that is, to find different articles.

  • Searches can be refined by the searcher's specifying "Limits" to the search.  That is, the searcher can checkboxes in the "Limits" areas, that modify the search so that it will only retrieve articles that conform to the search limits.  Searches can be limited by date or limited to find only scholarly or full-text articles.