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Information Systems, Information Assurance, and Computer Science Resources Guide

Use this guide to find online and print resources in information/computer systems and information assurance. The guide is designed for both on-campus and distance education students and includes online sources accessible through the Library.

Find... scholarly journal articles & conference proceedings

Use the following research databases to find scholarly journal articles and conference proceedings.

The lock icon login with library ID and password required when off-campus in the sections below indicates that you must login with when off-campus.  

If a research database provides only a citation and abstract for an article and you want the full text of the article, you can request that the Mundt Library get the article for you by using the library's Interlibrary Loan service.

Find... technical and trade magazine articles

Technical and trade magazines/journals may be found in the following databases.

About scholarly and technical journals in IA/IS/CS

Magazines and journals take distinct forms based on their purpose and audience. In the case of scholarly journals and technical/trade journals, they have the same audience -- a particular profession or group of people working in the same discipline. Scholarly journals and technical/trade journals are also alike in that the articles within both are typically written by professionals in the discipline. However, these two types of journals differ in terms of purpose. 

  • "Technical journals" and "trade journals" help someone do their job better by providing current news of importance to the profession as well as job postings and ads relevant to the profession.  Examples of technical journals include Network Computing and IEEE Spectrum.

technical-journal-covers

  • The purpose of scholarly journals (also called "research journals") is to report original research -- that is, newly reported research carried out by the person or persons writing the article. Credible scholarly journals use a peer-review process to ensure the quality of their articles. Examples of scholarly journals include Journal of Management Information Systems, Journal of Applied Security Research, and IEEE Transactions on Computers.scholarly-journal-covers

 

Most reading is now done online, and often the articles are found separately  --not in the context of the journal or magazine in which the article was published. 

  • This can add to the difficulty of distinguishing technical/trade articles from popular articles, because the intended audience may be unclear.
  • Scholarly research articles are easier to identify because they usually follow recognizable formats and explicitly state that they are reporting the authors' research. 
  • However, scholarly research articles may be published by disreputable publishers -- publishers that use poor or no peer-review.

If you would like a more detailed explanation, read on...

  • Articles written for a general audience, even if the topic is serious, do not go through scholarly peer review. You can assume that articles published in magazines for the general public are not peer-reviewed. Such magazines range from popular ones that entertain such as People Weekly to substantial news magazines such as Time or Atlantic Monthly or MacWorld.
  • Articles written for a specific professional audience (such as teachers, business managers, animators, computer scientists) may be scholarly, or they may be technical/trade articles. Technical/trade articles usually do not, but sometimes may, go through a peer review process.
  • The key characteristic of a scholarly article is that it reports original research or original theory. The word "original" means that the author or authors have done the research study or have developed the theory or model that they are reporting. This content is critical for distinguishing scholarly articles from technical/trade articles. While technical/trade articles are very useful for keeping their audience up-to-date about tools, techniques, and news that help them do their jobs better, these articles do not report original research.
  • Some secondary characteristics MUST be found in any scholarly article but may, also, be found in some technical/trade articles. A scholarly article will always have a bibliography, because the author(s) must demonstrate  knowledge of pre-existing relevant research by others and must show how their research contributes to existing knowledge.  However, a technical/trade article may also include a bibliography, so this characteristic (having a bibliography) cannot be used on its own to distinguish technical/trade from scholarly articles.
  • Original research studies tend to have a similar format (although this can vary by discipline) that includes introduction, literature review, methods, results, and discussion. When you see this format, you can assume the article is scholarly. Also, when an author refers to "this study" or "this research," that's a clue that the author is reporting original research. Of course, a bogus article could be written in this format to appear to be scholarly when it's not, so it does matter that the source of the article is a reputable journal or journal website or that you found it using a reputable research database.
  • The easiest way to know that an article is scholarly (though not necessarily peer-reviewed) is to find it using a source that only includes scholarly articles. Research databases for specific disciplines will often include only (or primarily) scholarly articles. For example, PubMed (for health and medicine) and Physical Education Index fall into this category. However, other discipline-specific research databases may contain a mix of scholarly and technical/trade articles, so you'll need to evaluate whether any given article is scholarly or not.
  • Research databases that include articles that range from popular and substantial news articles to scholarly articles -- such as Academic Search Premier in EBSCOhost or Proquest Research Library -- will often include a search option to limit your search to only scholarly articles. Use this feature to eliminate popular articles and save time, but be aware that the search results may include the non-scholarly articles (editorials, opinion pieces) that are sometimes included in scholarly journals; or it may in some other way mis-identify an article as scholarly. You'll need to evaluate whether the article you select actually is scholarly.

 

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