Use the Library website to find journal articles
Begin your search at the library homepage. From the "Start your search" search box, you can find books, journals, and other resources in our library catalogue in addition to searching for articles across multiple databases.
In the search box, type in the keywords relevant to your research topic.
For example, if your topic is about Jewish merchants in 14th century Barcelona, you can enter the keywords
jewish merchants barcelona medieval
You will get a list of results organized into different information source types, such as Articles, Books, Journals & Databases, and more! To find scholarly articles, underneath the Articles section select the "Scholarly only" button at the bottom.
Narrow down your list to get better articles
Sometimes you will get hundreds of results. Use the filters in the left hand sidebar to narrow down your list of articles. You can filter your search results by Subject, Language, and Publication Date.
You can also narrow down your search results by adding different keywords. If you are looking for a specific phrase or multi-word term, such as the Industrial Revolution, put the phrase in quotes: "industrial revolution".
Identifying book reviews
While searching for journal articles, you may come across book reviews. Examine the citation for the article to distinguish between journal articles and book reviews.
In the example below, you can see this is a book review as it indicates the book author's name, title, and publisher. The page numbers also indicate it's only 1 page long, suggesting it is a book review.
Use the Library website to find books
In the library homepage search box, type in the keywords relevant to your research topic. When searching for books, remember to use simple, broad keywords.
From the list of results, go to the Books section, and click on All Books to see the the library catalogue search results.
Narrow down your list of books
You can refine your search with various filters on the left sidebar, such as Library, Subject, Language, Subject Time Period, and Publication Date.
For ebooks, you can also click on the Online checkbox at the top of the page underneath Refine your search.
If you want to see the most recent books, at the top right corner of the results page, choose "sort," and then click on the down arrow next to publication date.
How to find a book in Robarts library
When choosing books or articles for your paper, consider the following:
Scholarly journal articles report on original research by experts in a particular academic discipline. Often they go through a peer-review process, which means that they are evaluated by reputable scholars in the field before they are published.
Criteria for evaluating scholarly journals
Who wrote it? What are their credentials?
Does the author acknowledge his or her sources? How?
Is the content substantial?
Does it appear to be valid and well-researched?
Does it make sense, based on your own background knowledge, or what other articles have to say on the topic?
Is the language scholarly?
Is the article well written?
Do illustrations and data support the content in a scholarly fashion, or do they appear to be attention-getting, or sensational?
Who is the article written for?
Is it written for experts and researchers in the field, or for members of the general public?
Is it published in a scholarly journal?
RADAR (Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, and Relevance)
Another helpful way to evaluate the credibility of a information source is through the framework RADAR (Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, and Relevance). See the guide for using RADAR for more detailed guidelines about how to evaluate the quality and usefulness of an information source for your research
Adapted from: Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470–478,
Following the instructions on your print handout, evaluate the following articles and judge which are scholarly, which are reliable but not scholarly, and which are popular and inappropriate to use for your essay. Please note that you are not required to read the entire article. Please focus on the first and last pages. Some articles are available in both html and pdf format. You can use either. If you are accessing these articles from home, some will require you to enter your UTORID and password.
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