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Extended Essay: Find Articles

A guide to the research and writing process required for students completing the IB Extended Essay.

Finding Journal and Magazine Articles

Journal and magazine articles are a excellent way to access information which may be more current than that found in books.   Don't discard information just because it comes from a popular publication. All types of publications can contain valuable information, including popular magazines, newspapers and trade magazines. There are, however,  important differences between magazines and journals that may affect which of these you decide to use.  See:

What's the Difference Between Scholarly Journals and Popular Magazines?
What Is a Scholarly Article? (And Why Is It Important?) - tutorial video

Here are some places to look for articles:

WSA Databases with articles from scholarly journals
Research databases available at local public libraries
Google Scholar

It is important to know when you are using a scholarly journal and when you are not.  Scholarly journals are written by experts in academic or professional fields.  They are excellent sources for finding out what has been studied or researched on a topic, they will also have a bibliography which will point to other relevant sources of information.  

Your Extended Essay should contain references to relevant articles from scholarly journals.

What's the Difference Between Scholarly Journals and Popular Magazines?


Cell ResearchBMC Biology

journal contains scholarly articles with abstracts and references (e.g., footnotes, parenthetical references, citations).

Submissions are peer reviewed (except for editorials or columns) which means that the scholar's manuscript is evaluated prior to being accepted for publication by experts or researchers in the same field (academic peers) to decide if the work meets professional standards.

The author's tone is serious and s/he uses words and ideas that are understood by experts but might be harder for a general reader to follow.

The print layout may include graphs and charts, but few photos, pictures and ads. For example, see Cell Research.  In the growing number of peer reviewed electronic journals, color and design elements are more prominent. For example, see BMC Biology

Often published by an academic or professional organization, a journal is designed to advance knowledge or publish research findings in a scholarly discipline.


The New Yorkermagazine appeals to a general audience, although their depth ranges from substantive to simple.

Psychology Today

In all good writing, concepts are explained and information is attributed, but the author does not provide >the rigorous proof or methodology evident in scholarly work.

In magazines designed for a more educated audience, a short list of books for further reading may follow an article, but footnotes are rare.

Eye-catching pictures, colorful design elements and fonts, and many ads are evident. For example, see Psychology Today or The New Yorker.  

The goal of a magazine is to attract, inform and entertain general readers.

NoodleTools Support Center. "Is My Source a Magazine or a Journal?", NoodleTools Knowledge Base. NoodleTools Inc.,
      29 June 2012. Web. 16 Aug. 2015. <>. 

What Is a Scholarly Article?

What is a Scholarly Article? (And Why is it Important?)

This video explains what scholarly articles are, the different sections they contain, and why it's important to use them when doing serious writing and research.

Watch for the research rat!

Kimbel Library. What Is a Scholarly      Article? Coastal Carolina University, 31 July 2011.      Web. 16 Aug. 2015.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

WSA Databases with Articles from Scholarly Journals

The databases below all have full-text articles from academic (scholarly) journals. Most (but not all) scholarly publications are peer reviewed. A peer reviewed publication in one in which articles go through an official editorial process that involves review and approval by the author's peers (people who are experts in the same subject area). Some trade publications are also peer reviewed.

When using 'Advanced Search' in almost all* of WSA's Gale databases, the boxes for 'Peer Reviewed Journals' and 'Full Text Documents' as limiters for a search are checked by default. Checking the box for 'Document Contains Images' is optional.

*Gale in Context: Middle School does not have the option to search for peer reviewed journals.


Search for an item in libraries near you: >>
You can request an Interlibrary Loan to get an article you need that's not owned by your local library.

Regional Libraries - Articles

Local regional libraries subscribe to databases that provide access to articles from magazines and academic journals.  If you only want to see scholarly research articles, be sure to click the 'peer reviewed' box when setting up your search.

KRL Databases with articles:

Literature Resource Center - Critical analyses of literary work and in-depth author biographies from every age and literary discipline.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context - Perfect for debate prep or anyone interested in seeing both sides of social issues, this database offers insight and research into today’s hottest topics in science, social studies, current events and language arts.

U.S. History in Context - Full text documents including primary sources, reference articles, and journals covering United States history from pre-colonial times to the present.

World History in Context - Full text documents, including primary sources, reference articles, and journals covering world history from antiquity to the present.

PTL Databases with articles: 

Academic Search Premier  - Comprehensive multidisciplinary database providing access to journals, and magazines, including more than 4,000 full-text peer-reviewed journals.

MasterFILE Premier - Digital collection of full-text magazines, reference books, and primary source documents, along with an image collection. Coverage includes business, health, education, general science, and multicultural issues.

SPL Databases with articles:

Computer Database - Provides access to leading business and technical publications in the computer, telecommunications, and electronics industries.

LGBTQ History and Culture - Explore LGBTQ history, culture, health, and political, social and legal issues in the United States and around the world. The searchable database includes approximately 1.5 million pages of information. 

Literature Resource Center - Critical analyses of literary work and in-depth author biographies from every age and literary discipline.

ProQuest Research Library - A vast archive of more than 90,000 reference and information resources that spans centuries.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times - Find full-text and full-image content from The New York Times, including articles, headlines, ads, obituaries and more. Contains full-text and images in PDF format of the New York Times from 1851 to three years before current year.


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