Bevier Engineering Library
Library Research Guide for Engineers
Are Scholarly Journal Articles?
contain articles written by academic researchers. While academics may work
with partners in industry, the articles they publish in scholarly journals
tend to deal with "pure research" and do not promote specific products
or industrial applications. Scholarly journal articles tend to be very
narrowly focused on a specific discipline, and their intended audience
is experts working in that discipline. They do not provide extensive background
or introduction to the topic. Journal articles are considered one of the
most reliable forms of information because the go through a process called
What is peer review?
The peer review process means
that when Dr. X submits an article to the Journal of Z, the editors
of the journal will send his or her article to be analyzed by other researchers
in the author's field. The reviewers will then study the article and make
recommendations to Dr. X for revision or further research. Dr. X will conduct
more research and/or make changes to the article, then he will submit it
to the journal again. The entire peer review process might take months
to a year; therefore, journal articles might be less timely than conference
papers or trade
Scholarly Journals Vs. Trade Magazines
Many people commonly
confuse scholarly journals with trade magazines. As mentioned above, trade
magazines, while valuable sources of information, do not go through a peer
review process and are generally written for a more general audience. They
will not contain in-depth, scholarly information like scholarly journal
articles. Because they are published very quickly, trade magazines are
most useful for keeping up with the news in the field.
for a list of important scholarly journals for
Journal Articles in the University Library System:
To find journal articles, you will need
to use an
index database. An index database provides a listing of
articles published in a wide array of journals. The listings usually contain
a reference, or citation, to the article. This citation typically
includes information such as the author, title of the article, title of
the journal, volume numbers and page numbers of the article and a brief
abstract of the article. Generally, index databases will not give the full
text of an article.
This screen is an example of an article
citation found in the index database EI Compendex.
To find out if the Engineering Library owns the above journal, look in PITTCat, the University of Pittsburgh's online catalog, for the title of the journal (Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management).
A listing of all of the University Library System's index databases is located on the ULS home on the Databases A to Z section. You can also find a list of all of the databases that are used for engineering on the Databases by Subject: Engineering section. The databases most frequently used by engineers are the following:
- EI Compendex - all fields of engineering.
- INSPEC - electrical engineering, computer engineering, electronics, physics and information technology.
- Science Citation Index - all fields of science, including technology.
- Business Source Elite - business information, useful for industrial engineering.
are electronic journals?
Electronic journals are journals that exist in their
full texts online. Most of these electronic journals can be accessed through
databases produced by the publishers of these journals. These are very
convenient resources, but because they are limited to the publications
of only one or two publishers, you will only be searching the information
those publishers produce and not the full body of information on the subject.
For this reason, traditional index databases like the ones listed above
are still necessary for thorough research on a topic. An example of an
electronic journal database is Elsevier's Science Direct. (A link
to this database can also be found under "Electronic Journals" on the ULS