How to Search for Journals for a Research Project

How to Search for Journals

Research papers are described as a piece of academic writing. It is written based on the author’s interpretations and analysis of the research findings on a particular topic. A research paper can either be in the form of a term paper, a master’s thesis, or a doctoral dissertation.

After you might have chosen a research topic that interests you, the next thing to do is to sort for information. For so many people, this is the most difficult aspect of writing a research paper, especially with the stress of going through many materials to find the one that is particular to your research topic. There are many sources to find information for your research paper, like; Wikipedia, textbooks, other research papers, and journals.

For this article, we would concentrate on searching for journals that would help in writing your research paper.

A journal is a collection of scholarly and peer-reviewed articles. They present the most recent research articles written by experts for experts and are published regularly throughout the year. Publication of journals is either in print or online and, sometimes, both.

Peer-reviewed articles have been reviewed by other professionals with the same academic background as the original author. For instance, say a biologist wants to publish the result of really exciting research he just conducted on the effect of a particular toxic plant on snake bites. First, he has to write a paper on his findings and then send the thesis wherever he wants to publish it. The journal editors then send copies of his written paper to other experts or professionals known as “peers.” These peers then examine or study the paper carefully. If they conclude or declare that the paper is acceptable, it is published in a journal.

On the other hand, a scholarly journal is used to support ideas. Authors of scholarly journals usually have advanced degrees in the field they are writing about. Formal language and terminology are used, usually written in the third person.

For clarity, I will highlight the differences between a periodical, a magazine, and a journal.

While Periodicals, also known as series, refer to any publication that comes out regularly or occasionally (TV Guide, The World Almanac, and the phone book are all periodicals), Magazines are periodicals aimed at the general public and contain news, personal narratives, and opinions. The magazine articles are usually written by professional writers that may or may not have expertise in the subject.

It is important to understand that magazines are not necessarily bad or low-quality information-wise; they are not designed to support academic research. This is because; they lack the depth of scholarly journals and do not document the sources of their information.

Now that you know a journal, it is time to understand how to search for and find journals.

You can search journals with the aid of a journal database.

A Journal database is an online library where you can find journal articles. Each journal database contains thousands of articles, making finding your topic of interest easier. There are a variety of journal databases and search engines containing journal articles across many disciplines. A few are;

1. Academic Search Journals

Academic Search

Academic Search was published in 2007 with the name Academic Premier. It is an array of over 8,500 full-text periodicals, including but not limited to 7,300 peer-reviewed journals. Subject areas include animal science, mathematics, physics, religion and theology, veterinary science, and many other disciplines. Thus, it is often referred to as a multidisciplinary journal database.

2. African Journals Online (AJOL)

African Journals Online (AJOL)

AJOL contains journals across many disciplines, houses over 350 African-published peer-reviewed articles, and includes open-access and subscription-based journals.

3. Anthropological Index Online Journals

Anthropological Index Online

This is an academic journal indexing service for anthropology.

4. BioOne


This is a nonprofit publisher of scientific research journals. It houses more than 180 scientific journals in biology, entomology, ornithology, plant science, ecology, and environmental science.

5. Chemical Abstract Service

Chemical Abstract Service

This is a division of the American Chemical Society located in Columbus, Ohio, United States. It is a source of chemical information. Approximately 8,000 journals, technical reports, dissertations, conference proceedings, and new books are available in about 50 languages.

6. ScienceDirect Journals

ScienceDirect Journals

This website provides subscription-based access to a large scientific and medical research database. It has over 12 million pieces of content, including 3,500 academic journals and 34,000 e-books. The journals available are grouped into four main sections; physical sciences and Engineering, Life sciences, Health sciences, and social sciences and humanities.

7. JournalSeek

JournalSeek Journals

An online database covering academic journals. It houses journals published by over 5,400 publishers. It is a multidisciplinary database and offers journals in different languages.

How do you find information for your research project on these databases?

Once you can identify a database that offers information on the discipline your research is affiliated with, you can search for that website or database online. For example, search for “” on Google or your preferred search engine.

The next page displays the journal database home page you have searched for. Once directed to the home page, you can search for the journal you need.

You can do your search by:

  • Inputting the name of the author for the journal you are searching for.
  • By using keywords contained in your research topic. For example, you can search your research topic.
  • Another alternative is to search using the journal-title. This will work only if you know the journal title you are looking for.
  • You can search by inputting the volume, issue, or page numbers of the journal you are searching for.

The Bottom Line

Journals are a great firsthand source of information needed to write any project paper. Professionals/Scholars write them and have in-depth information on what is needed to write an awesome research paper. Practice with our tips; finding relevant journals for your research paper should become considerably less difficult.