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Information Types

Get started finding different kinds of information for your research

Not all journals are the same!

What are Peer Reviewed Journals?

  • Also called scholarly, academic, refereed.
  • Written by academics for an academic audience. 
  • Peer review indicates that the articles submitted for publication in the journal has gone through a quality control process. It has been assessed by other academic experts in the field as sound and credible in terms of methodology, argument etc.
  • Usually available in electronic format but sometimes we provide hard copy access.
  • Electronic versions of the journal are usually available via library research databases and we may provide access to a journal through several databases.
  • Don't pay for articles you find on the Internet. If you are not sure how to access the library subscription ask a librarian.
  • Some journals are published in open access versions that are freely available on the Internet
  • In the pre internet days, journal titles were a clearly defined entity but these days journal titles are often subsumed into the research databases or websites.

Why do I need to use them?

  • Academic journals are one of the main ways of communicating academic research. 
  • Useful to browse the latest editions of journals to keep up with the latest research in your academic field.

How do I find them?

  • FindIt@Flinders
  • Library Research databases
  • Ulrich's Web
  • Google (for open access journals only)
  • Directory of open access journals
  • Other libraries

What are trade journals?

  • Not usually peer reviewed
  • Contains articles about new trends, best practices and products for a specific industry or profession.
  • Written by a professional or a journalist with experience in the field for a professional audience often published by a trade organisation.
  • Maybe a bit glossy with advertising.
  • May contain some references and citations.
  • Shorter articles and may use specialised terminology.
  • May contain interviews with academics about their research or reports of academic research.
  • Academics may write for these journals.

Why would I use a trade journal?

  • Timely coverage of current trends.
  • Can provide a good overview of a topic that will increase your understanding of practice in the profession and current issues facing practiitioners.
  • Can simplify complex research to help basic understanding.

What Library Tools would I use to find it?

  • FindIt@Flinders
  • Some research databases
  • Google

What are popular journals?

  • Written for the general public with no expertise in the subject.
  • Contains articles about current events, popular culture, opinion, self help, advertising mainly for entertainment and the goal is to make money through sales and advertising. e.g. Psychology Today.
  • May contain information about research but second and third hand reports.
  • Written by staff writers. Free lancers credentials usually not mentioned.
  • Glossy, full colour with plenty of advertising.
  • No citations or references of sources.

Why would I need them?

It would be rare that you would need popular journals for research. But they may be useful for historical, socological or cultural research projects.

What Library Tools would I use to find them?

  • Only a very few available at Flinders Library.
  • May be some copies on Readings if you are studying a particular journal in class.
  • Mainly through other libraries (e.g. public libraries)/ Local access freely online
  • Some historical examples in  Special Collections. e.g. Women's Weekly


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