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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Simpson Library Orientation: Find Articles

Journals and Databases

Clip art of a printed issue of a journalWhat is a scholarly journal?

Scholarly journals are kind of like magazines, but they're written by scholars, and they're meant to be read by scholars. Scholars write journal articles in order to communicate with each other -- to discuss ideas, announce discoveries, or respond to other scholars.

Most scholarly journals require that articles be peer-reviewed before publication.


What is a peer-reviewed article?

A peer-reviewed article is an article that was reviewed by a panel of experts (the author's peers) before it was published. The experts make sure that the article contains quality information with no errors.


What is a database?

A database is a collection of electronic documents that you can search. UMW has about 200 different databases that you can use. Each database contains hundreds of thousands of documents. Most of these documents (but not all) are journal articles.

You can access the databases through the UMW Libraries website, using your UMW username and password.


The Quest logo -- a capital letter Q wearing a wizard hatWhat is Quest?

Quest is a search tool. It searches the contents of nearly all of the library databases, plus the library catalog, all at the same time. Try it!


How do I find articles?

Clip art of a computerTo find articles, use the library databases. A good place to start is Quest. You can use Quest to search all (or nearly all) of the library databases, from just one search box.

However, because Quest searches everything, it sometimes returns too many off-topic results. To avoid this, you may want to search a database that only covers one subject area (such as history or biology or economics). To find a database that covers your subject, go to the the list of databases and use the dropdown menu to select the subject that matches your topic.

What is the Journal Search?

When you have a particular article in mind, you can find it using the Journal Search. The Journal Search is one of the search options on the library home page.

Screenshot showing the Journals tab

To use the Journal Search, enter the title of the journal that your article appears in. The Journal Search will tell you where the journal is. It might be in one or more of the library databases, or it might be in a physical format in the library building.



For example, here are the steps you'd follow if you wanted to find this article:

Horn, J. A., Mateus-Pinilla, N., Warner, R. E., & Heske, E. J. (2011). Home range, habitat use, and activity patterns of free-roaming domestic cats. Journal of Wildlife Management, 75(5), 1177-1185.


  1. The title of the journal is Journal of Wildlife Management, so you type "Journal of Wildlife Management" into the Journal Search.
  2. The Journal Search tells you which databases include that journal.
  3. You pick one of those databases, go into the database, and search inside the database for the title of the article ("Home range, habitat use, and activity patterns of free-roaming domestic cats").