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RELG 390: Junior Seminar in Religion: Finding Journal Articles

Articles: a step-by-step guide

Articles: A Step-by-Step Guide

1.) Look for citations and articles

  • Gather citations with Indexes and Databases
  • Find citations in books and articles with Bibliographies

2.) Locate the journal when you have a citation

  • Title search on Title of the Journal to locate article in a Full Text Database

3.)  WestCat - Western Michigan's catalog  (finds the journal at WMU -- you must go there to retrieve it, whether it's print or online)

4.) Interlibrary Loan

Scholarly or Popular?

Types of Periodicals

Scholarly Journals (American Journal of Chinese Studies)

  • Authors are scholars or researchers in their fields.
  • Authors cite their sources in footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies.
  • Articles must go through a peer-review process.
  • Articles usually report original scholarly research.

Popular Magazines (Newsweek or Time)

  • Authors are free lance writers or magazine staff members.
  • Authors may mention sources, but rarely cite them in notes or bibliographies.
  • There is no peer review process. Articles are reviewed by editors or publishers.
  • Language is written for the general adult audience (no specialized jargon).

Indexes and Databases


Indexes lead you to article citations that include author, article title, journal title, volume number, publication date, and page number. Citations do not include the entire article. You must locate the journal once you have a citation.

ATLA Religion

Gender Watch

America: History and Life

Historical Abstracts

Humanities Abstracts 

MLA International Bibliography

Philosopher's Index 


Social Sciences Abstracts

Sociological Abstracts

Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982)

Readers' Guide Abstracts (1983-present)

Full-text resources

Full text databases include citation information as well as the text of the article itself.

Scholarly academic journals. How to search JSTOR

Project MUSE
Scholarly academic journals

Proquest Research Library
Can limit to scholarly academic journals

New York Times (1851 to 3 years ago)
Access to more than 1,000 major U.S newspapers as well as leading titles from around the world. Coverage varies by title.

American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals the Library subscribes to Series 3 (1838-1852) and Series 5 (1866-1877)

Jewish Studies Source

Religion Indexes & Databases at WMU

Index Islamicus 

Indexes literature on Islam, the Middle East and the Muslim world. Covering subjects such as: Economics, History, Law, Literature, Religion, Social Sciences, and more. From 1906-Present.

Anthropology Plus 

Provides extensive worldwide indexing of journal articles, reports, commentaries, and edited works in the fields of social, cultural, physical, biological and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture and interdisciplinary studies.

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