What is a journal article? (What is an article?)


Journal articles are shorter than books and written about very specific topics. 

journal is a collection of articles (like a magazine) that is published regularly throughout the year. Journals present the most recent research, and journal articles are written by experts, for experts. They may be published in print or online formats, or both. 

Sample images

The front cover of a sample academic journal (PORTAL: Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies). Note that it includes a year, as well as "Vol." (for "Volume") and "No." (for "Number"). Because journals are published regularly, this information identifies different issues (like month and year on a popular magazine).

Cover of journal: Portal: Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies


A sample table of contents from the same academic journal, listing the articles that appear in this issue. (Note: When accessing journals online, articles are usually available as separate PDF documents.)

sample table of contents page from an academic journal, showing article titles and authors, as well as links for accessing each article.


A sample article (first page) from the same academic journal:

the first page of a sample article from an academic journal, showing the title, authors, abstract, and keywords.

More information

Finding academic or scholarly journal articles
Tips for searching for journal articles in the Library.

What is a scholarly (or peer-reviewed) journal?
For the differences between scholarly journals, magazines, and trade publications -- and when to use them.

Finding and evaluating sources
Searching for and evaluating sources on the open web, with tips for evaluating all sources, including journals and journal articles.

What is peer review? What is a peer-reviewed journal?
What peer review means and how to tell if a journal is peer-reviewed.