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PHIL 231: Media Ethics: Finding Articles

Spring 2015/ Dr. Achim Koeddermann

Types of Periodicals

It is important when doing research to be aware of the types of sources you choose. In the academic world there are different types of magazines and journals that you should be aware of. It is important to understand their differences, so you can choose the best type for your needs.

Scholarly/Academic/Peer-reviewed/Juried/Refereed - these are all synonyms for the same type of journal, one that presents and preserves a record of scholarship for an academic or research-oriented audience. The language of these journals assumes some academic background on the part of the reader. Many of these journals are published by scholarly societies or discipline-specific professional organizations. 

Many, but not all, scholarly journals are reviewed by communities of other notable scholars during the publication process. These reviewers are considered the writer's peers, thus the term Peer-reviewed Journal. Because a peer-reviewed journal will not publish articles that fail to meet the standards established for a given discipline, peer-reviewed articles that have been accepted for publication exemplify the best research practices in the field. These are the types of articles most often used for research assignments. To determine if the journal you are using is Peer-reviewed, check the Ulrich's database and look for the term "Refereed" in the item's record. 

Things usually contained in a Peer-reviewed article include an abstract (a summary of the article), author's affiliations and contact information, footnotes and/or bibliographies (from which you can get information on additional sources).

Scholarly journals are usually published on plain (not glossy) paper, have no advertisements or photos. They may contain graphs or charts.

Professional/Trade Magazines and Journals - these are usually written for professionals who work in a specific field or industry. Although the editors of these journals may be experts in their field, the articles are not necessarily peer-reviewed. The articles report the news and trends in a given field, but not original research. They may be published on glossy paper and all advertisements will relate to the field the journal covers. Always check with your professor if you want to use an article from this type of journal.

Newspapers - the articles are usually written by a member of the editorial staff, a scholar or a free-lance writer. These do not employ the peer-review process and it is the responsibility of the editorial staff to determine the accuracy and verifiability of content. The main purpose of these periodicals is to provide information, news and analysis of current events to a broad audience.

Popular Magazines - these are the magazines you find in the grocery store or on a magazine rack. Articles will be very short (1-2 pages) and focus on current events and pop-culture. These are generally considered "leisure reading". They will be published on glossy paper, with numerous photographs and advertisements. The purpose of Popular magazines is to entertain, sell you something or promote a viewpoint. They are not intended for scholarly use.

Finding Articles

There are several ways to search for articles for your assignment. 

If you know the specific name of a Journal and want to see if we own it, you can use the Journal Search tab. Please note: this will search Journals only, not individual articles. To search for articles within a journal, click the link to the database that contains the journal, and search the contents from there.

You can search using the Databases tab, which allows you to search by specific database or browse by discipline. If you click on the link for the Philosophy & Religion databases, you will find a list of specific databases to use, or click on a link below:

  • Academic Search Complete
    Provides full text for about 8,500 periodicals including over 7,300 peer-reviewed journals across most areas of academic study as well as indexing and abstracts for more than 12,500 magazines and journals. Includes abstracts for the journals "Ethics" and "Journal of Ethics".
  • Academic OneFile
    Indexes about 13,000 scholarly journals across most academic subject areas from 1980 to the present. Over 38,000,000 articles are available, with some full-text.
  • JSTOR archive
    Provides access to the full text of about 1400 core scholarly journals across most subject areas. The objective of JSTOR is to provide all issues back to Volume 1, Issue 1. Although some current titles are included, the most recent 3-5 years are generally unavailable due to copyright restrictions.
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete
    Covers all aspects of communication and mass media. Includes the "Journal of Mass Media Ethics"
  • Project Muse 
    Full text of over 100 scholarly journals in fields including literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, political science, gender studies, and economics.
  • Religion & Philosophy Collection - Ebsco
    Provides extensive coverage of such topics as world religions, major denominations, biblical studies, religious history, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of language, moral philosophy and the history of philosophy.
  • Google Scholar
    Can be used to seach multiple databases. Links to full-text in some Milne Library subscription databases.
  • Media Ethics
    Magazine concerned with media ethics.

Search Everything is a powerful tool and will search all the content the Milne Library has access to. Because of this, you will find a mixture of items (books, journals, articles, films, sound recordings, etc.) and lots of results. You can narrow your results down by using the limiters on the left side of the results page. 

Locating the full text of the article in electronic form:

If there is no full text with the citation for an article in a database, click on Linked Full Text. If a full text of the article is available in another database, there will usually be a link to that database where the article can be found by linking to the appropriate volume and issue number, or by searching for the article by its specific title. 

If the article is not available, return to the home page of the library and click on Journals. Enter the journal title in the search box, then click on Exact Match. You can then determine if an online or print copy of the article is available. Oneonta Local links to information about locally held items. On the record for the journal title, click Is it here? The record will list the years and volumes of the journal held in Milne Library. The record will also indicate whether the issue is in print or microfilm.

Print periodicals are located on compact shelving, and microfilm is available in metal cabinets in the Microfilm Room, both of which are in the Periodicals Room (SB floor), two floors below the main floor of the library.

Requesting an article on Interlibrary Loan:

If you find an article from a periodical that is not available at Milne Library, you can request the article through the link Request via Interlibrary Loan on the record for the article needed or through the link on the bottom of the home page of the library website. See a librarian for help.

For any help with the above tools, please contact your reference librarian.