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The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library

Honors American Government & Politics: Landmark Legislation Research Paper: Secondary Sources: Journal Articles

Scholarly Journal Articles may also be Secondary Sources

NOTE: Scientific studies published in academic journals are considered primary source material.

  • Scholarly journal articles are written by scholars for scholars and present a new interpretation or thesis based upon a synthesis of primary sources, scholarly journal articles, and other secondary sources. 

  • Many are also peer-reviewed; in other words, they must be approved by other scholars in the field before publication..

  • Scholarly journal articles generally have a bibliography of materials for further study, including primary sources, journal articles, and books.

  • Look for journal article references in the bibliographies and/or notes in your secondary source books / ebooks and other journal articles. 

Online Journal Databases


Resource Allows NoodleTools Export means you can export citations to NoodleTools.

General Search Tips for Online Databases:


Limit results to Full Text.

  • Make sure that all the results are items you can access by limiting results to Full Text results only. Databases often include a mix of full text items and abstracts/synopses of items. Selecting Full Text helps prevent frustration.

Look for search terms in article titles. 

  • ​Database searches generally default to keyword. Using the drop-down list to the right of the search bar, look for titledocument title, or comparable term such as newspaper Headline.

Use Filters.

  • Look for filters / limiters on your results page, such as Subject and Source types. This will help ensure you get only the results that you want and will make sure you don't have to wade through as many results.

Use AND / OR operators (also known as Boolean operators).

  • Use AND in your search when there are words that all need to be in your search results.
  • Use OR when there are two words that can be used interchangeably, but at least one of them needs to be present in your results.
  • Use NOT when you want to exclude a word from your search.
  • Examples:
    • coronavirus OR COVID-19
    • coronavirus OR COVID-19 AND Spain (Articles about the virus in Spain only.)
    • coronavirus OR COVID-19 NOT United States (Articles about the virus anywhere but the United States.)

If you have any questions, see
Mr. Padgett, Ms. Taylor, or Mr. Previti
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