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BC3 Library: Finding Articles

A periodical is the term for something that is published at regular intervals. Examples include a newspaper that is published daily, a magazine that is published weekly, or a journal that is published monthly. The best way to find periodical articles is to search a periodical database. Some databases have a general scope, covering many subject areas, or they may be limited to specific subjects. Sometimes they index specific types of periodicals such as academic journals, popular magazines, or newspapers.

Popular Databases for Finding Articles

General Databases

News Databases and Individual Newspapers

BC3 students and employees can sign up for free access to the New York Times through Butler County Community College's NYT Academic Pass Subscription.

  1. Go to

  2. Search for Butler County Community College from the list of institutions

  3. You MUST use your BC3 email when setting up your NYT account

  4. You will need to re-register for the NYT annually

  • Wall Street Journal  - Indexed in the Newspapers database published by EBSCOhost. since the full text of Wall Street Journal articles is not included, you will need to click on the "Request this item" link to obtain articles. We can usually obtain articles within 24 hours and will email them to you.
  • Washington Post - Articles available full text in the Newspaper database published by EBSCOhost. 

Pro-Con: Databases on Issue Topics

The following databases are resources for reports on issue topics that include up-to-date information, history, and visuals.

EBSCOhost Subject Database

Subject Databases

Additional Options

There are also several databases outside the BC3 Library's subscriptions and internet sources that you can use to find articles. In most cases, the full text of the articles will not be freely available, so you will need to use the library's Document Delivery service to obtain the articles (see Get the Full Text section on this page).

  • Google Scholar - different from a Google search, limits to books and scholarly journals
  • ScienceDirect - covers a broad range of topics, excellent source for topics in the sciences
  • JSTOR - covers humanities and social science topics

What is peer review?

Peer review is a process used by scholarly journals in selecting articles for publication. Before an article is accepted, editors send the manuscript to experts in the subject area to review. The reviewers provide feedback and recommendations for revisions. Based on this information and other criteria, the editor may accept the manuscript for publication, require the author to resubmit the manuscript with revisions, or reject the manuscript.

Why should I care?

Peer review adds authority and credibility to your sources and your argument. It means that the editor and reviewers have examined the article's research methodology and approved it for publication.

How do I find peer-reviewed articles?

  1. Search scholarly and subject databases like EBSCOhost Academic Search, OVID, PubMed, and Westlaw
  2. Search Google scholar (
  3. Many databases provide a peer review checkbox that limits a search to journals with peer reviewed articles.

How do I know that an article was peer-reviewed?

  1. The first page of a peer reviewed article will often include submitted/revised/accepted dates.
  2. Google the title of the journal and look for its information for authors section. It should include information procedures and policies for peer review.

Scholarly Journals vs Popular Magazines vs Trade/Professional Magazines

Knowing the differences between scholarly journal articles and popular magazine articles can help you to select appropriate articles for your research.

Criteria Scholarly Journals Popular Magazines Professional/Trade Magazines
Authors Authors are scholars and experts in the field. Authors are always listed as well as their institutional affiliation. Articles are peer reviewed. Authors are staff writers or free lance writers. May be anonymous, may be trained journalists, and they may not be experts on the topic. Authors have expertise in a field or industry. No peer review process.
Sources  Sources listed in bibliographies and footnotes. Sources rarely cited. Sources may be mentioned occasionally.
Content Research articles, which tend to be longer. Language tends to be formal and technical. Articles are short and of general interest with a focus on current topics. Articles are fairly short focusing on a specific trade or professional field. Often with an emphasis on current trends and news.
Audience and Language Intended audience is scholars and researchers. Intended audience is the general public. Intended audience is professionals within a specific business, industry or field.
Appearance and Advertising Cover and paper is usually plain, rarely glossy. Tends to have a serious look. Minimal advertising. Articles often include graphs. Catchy titles, attention grabbing covers, glossy paper. Colorful photos and illustrations. Lots of advertising. Glossy covers, headlines often catchy. Colorful photos and illustrations. Advertising directed at a specific field.
Examples Journal of Communication Studies, Harvard Business Review, New England Journal of Medicine Sports Illustrated, Health, Business Week, Psychology Today Parks & Recreation, Nursing Made Incredibly Easy, Professional Surveyor


Get the Full Text

PDF link.

If you are viewing an article citation in a database or website, look for a PDF or FULL text icon or link. Pdf is the preferred format over Html (web format) because it will look like the print version and it will usually have pagination, which is helpful for citing.

BC3 Library Catalog

Search the BC3 Library Catalog by the Journal Title (NOT the article title) to see if we have a subscription to the journal. The catalog will link you to the database or web site if we have online availability. It will also show if there is a print copy in the library.

Document Delivery

                document delivery icon

If the full text is not freely available, you can request articles through the BC3 Library's document delivery service. We will try to get it for you from another library and then email it to you. On average, this will take about a day. If you are using an EBSCOhost database, when viewing the article record, click on the Request Article link. If you are using a different database or find an article on the web, submit your request using our Document Delivery icon shown above.

Understanding Scholarly Articles