Why use the databases available through the University Libraries to find scholarly journal articles?
The databases contain specialized collections of journals, usually selected for quality and disciplinary focus. Using discipline specific databases narrows your search from the beginning, ensuring that the sources you find are high quality and relevant. Google Scholar casts a wide net, including a mix of disciplinary approaches and extremely mixed quality -- it is a great tool for disciplinary experts, but not a great starting place for those with less expertise.
Scholars present original research findings in academic or scholarly journals. Original research findings are generated as scholars ask original questions and seek answers using the methodologies of their discipline. Scholars are typically highly educated, usually possessing a PhD, and often are affiliated with a university. Scholars write articles to share with other scholars, thus, the audience is specialized and expert.
Questions to consider about the purpose of an information source:
Publication in an academic journal is a rigorous affair. Scholarly journal articles are typically submitted to a blind review by other experts in the field who determine if an article meets the standards of the publication. The process, called peer-review, is a key feature of the academic journal format. Scholarly journals are published by academic publishers and scholarly societies.
Question to consider about the process of an information source
Scholarly journal articles are typically structured around the most efficient way to present research findings, usually containing the following sections:
Because all research builds on other research, scholarly articles always contain extensive citations (in the References/Bibliography or Footnotes/Endnotes). Scholarly journal articles often contain scientific/technical figures, charts, and/or tables, but less often photos or other images, but this varies by discipline.
Questions to consider about the final product of an information source