How To Search For Scholarly Articles: Guide To Find Scholarly Articles

Searching scholarly articles can be daunting, yet it’s a crucial skill for students, researchers, and academics. This guide aims to demystify the process, offering practical strategies and insights for efficiently locating and accessing high-quality academic literature.

From understanding the nuances of various databases to mastering advanced search techniques and evaluating the credibility of sources, we’ll explore the essential steps to finding scholarly articles.

Whether you’re delving into a new research project or expanding your academic horizons, this article will equip you with the tools and knowledge to navigate the world of scholarly research with confidence.

How To Search For Scholarly Articles?

Google ScholarIdeal for a broad search.
PubMedSpecialises in life sciences and biomedical topics. 
JSTORGreat for humanities, social sciences, and arts.
ScopusA large database covering literature in science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities. 
Web of ScienceNotable for its citation network that allows users to follow scholarly conversations.
Citation & ReferencesCan help identify key articles, and guide research process.

Academic Journal Database And Search Engines

Google Scholar

Google Scholar stands out as your go-to digital library for scholarly articles. Diving into this search engine opens up a universe of literature across a spectrum of disciplines, such as:

  • academic journals,
  • peer-reviewed articles, and
  • scholarly journal articles

To find peer-reviewed journal articles, simply type in keywords related to your topic. You can even limit your search to articles from a specific publication or by a particular scholar. 

One golden tip: use the advanced search feature to refine your results, honing in on the exact scholarly articles online you need. 


PubMed serves as a pivotal resource for anyone in search of scholarly articles, particularly within the realms of science and medicine.

This search engine gives you direct access to millions of articles, guiding you to peer-reviewed journal articles by university academics with just a few clicks.

The beauty of PubMed lies in its vast collection of scholarly journal articles, all meticulously indexed to aid your research.

When you dive into PubMed, you’re not just searching; you’re exploring a digital library filled with academic journals, each article a potential key to new insights.

To navigate this treasure trove, start with a simple keyword search related to your discipline. PubMed’s advanced search allows you to limit your results by factors like publication date, ensuring you find the most relevant and up-to-date information. 


JSTOR stands as a beacon for scholars in search of high-quality, peer-reviewed journal articles.

This digital library spans a multitude of disciplines, from the social sciences to the arts, offering a rich tapestry of scholarly articles at your fingertips.

Delving into JSTOR, you’re not merely searching; you’re embarking on a scholarly journey through a vast archive of academic journals, each brimming with articles waiting to be discovered.

To start, you might type in a keyword related to your research interest. JSTOR’s advanced search function can help you narrow down your results to the most relevant articles.

It’s like having a guide through the academic wilderness, pointing you towards the scholarly sources you need.


SCOPUS is an extensive database that offers you a panoramic view of academic research, encompassing a wide array of: 

  • peer-reviewed journals,
  • conference papers, and
  • book chapters. 

Navigating SCOPUS might seem daunting at first, but it’s all about mastering the search. Start with keywords that resonate with your research question.

The advanced search option is your ally, allowing you to filter results by:

  • date,
  • subject, and even
  • the document type

Ensuring you pinpoint the exact scholarly journal articles you need. Another of SCOPUS’s standout features is its ability to track citations, offering a deeper insight into the impact and relevance of research. 

Web of Science

Web of Science is a premier database to connect you with high-quality, peer-reviewed journal articles spanning various disciplines.

From the hard sciences to the social sciences, Web of Science curates a collection that is both diverse and academically rigorous.

Finding journal articles here is more than a mere search; it’s a strategic exploration. Start with a keyword that encapsulates your research interest. Then, let the advanced search features refine your quest, limiting results by:

  • publication year,
  • subject area, or
  • document type. 

The citation network is a gem within Web of Science. It allows you to trace the impact of research, following the scholarly conversation from one article to the next. 

Citations and Bibliography

You can also use citations and bibliographies to help you find journal articles. These references are not just formalities; they’re a network connecting you to a wealth of related academic work.

When you come across a compelling article, look at its references and bibliography – It is a treasure trove, each citation a potential guide to another piece of the puzzle in your research.

Diving into the references of a peer-reviewed article, you might find seminal works in the discipline or recent studies pushing the boundaries of science.

This method of chaining references can lead you to scholarly journals and publications you might not have found through a standard database search.

If the full text of an interesting source isn’t readily available, don’t hesitate to ask a librarian. They’re adept at tracking down articles, navigating subscription barriers, and even suggesting similar works in digital library databases.

Remember, each citation in a bibliography is a nod from one scholar to another, an invitation to explore further and deepen your understanding of the subject.

Finding Scholarly Journal Articles – Not That Hard

Searching for scholarly articles requires a blend of strategy, knowledge of available resources, and critical evaluation skills.

Leveraging databases like Google Scholar, PubMed, JSTOR, and others, alongside university library systems, can unlock vast realms of academic literature.

Advanced search techniques, understanding of citation networks, and the effective use of bibliographies enhance the discovery process. Always evaluate the credibility and relevance of your sources to ensure high-quality research outcomes.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.