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Applied Physics: Journal Articles

Why use journals?

Journal articles are usually:

  • first hand reports of original research, making them primary source material
  • the first place where new research is published, so they are at the cutting edge of your subject
  • peer-reviewed, meaning that the articles have been critically evaluated by experts in the field before publication.

Searching for journal articles on a topic?

You will be able to find a limited number of journal articles on a topic by using the Library SmartSearch, and this may be most appropriate for you if you need to obtain a few full-text journal articles on a particular subject.

You can use the following bibliographic databases to carry out a comprehensive search for journal articles in your subject area.  Use the Find it @ Aston button within each journal article record to find out whether the full text is available to you as a member of Aston University.

How to find a journal article from a reference

The reference for a journal article usually looks something like this:

Author(s) (year). Article title. Journal title, volume (issue), page numbers.

For example:
SHENTON, A.K., FITZGIBBONS, M. (2010). Making information literacy relevant. Library Review, 59 (3), 165-174.

There are two main ways to find the full text of a journal article from a reference:

  • Type the article title into the Library SmartSearch (or your database of choice), and use  to access full text
  • Search for the journal title in the A-Z list of journals (link below)

Unable to find the full text of a journal article? Why not try...

Open Access LogoMany journal articles are now freely available online as they have been published "open access" in addition to their publication in a subscription journal.

Use the following search tools to find open access journal articles:

SCONUL LogoAston University is a member of the SCONUL Access reciprocal scheme, which allows full-time postgraduate / postgraduate research students, academic staff, and part-time, distance learner or placement students to visit most of the university libraries in the UK and Ireland and use or borrow books.

Aston University full-time undergraduate students are not eligible for SCONUL Access membership, but may be able to use other libraries on a reference only basis under the SCONUL Vacation Access scheme.

If you are a final year undergraduate, postgraduate, researcher or member of staff and you require material not held in the Library for your research or dissertation, you can order this on Inter Library Loan.


How to improve your keyword searches for journal articles

Keyword searching is generally what you use when you are first beginning a search. Try to break down your topic or research question into the overall main ideas; these main ideas become simple keywords which you may use to search a Library database. It's useful to keep a keyword list when you are researching a topic. This will help you remember the words you have already tried searching, the combinations you have used, and any new words you noticed in search results that you want to try in your searches later.

Watch this short video to help you improve your search skills: