Journals, articles and databases

  • Academic journals are key resources for your geography degree. They publish articles which are written by specialists in the field and provide an insight into current thinking, debate and research. They can also cover a specific topic in depth, e.g. a case study.

     

    This guide from the Open University (PDF) explains clearly what a journal is, and how they differ from books. The important thing to note is that new issues are regularly published, and that all the issues from one year are known as a volume. This pattern of regular publication provides an alternative name for journals: periodicals.

     

    One of the reasons why journal articles are so highly regarded as sources is peer reviewFind out more about peer review and how it works.

    The quickest way to find articles recommended by your lecturers is to use the module's online reading list.

     

    These lists will show you essential and further reading for each week or each topic. For articles, you can click on the 'view online' button next to each one and you'll be taken directly to the article itself.  

     

    You can also find links to your online reading lists in Moodle - just look down the right hand side on a module page.

     

    You can keep track of what you've already read, what you want to read etc. by clicking on the circle to the right of an item on a reading list.

    There are number of useful journals in geography and related fields. The following list is not exhaustive but it contains some of the journals that are highly-regarded by geographers. You will be prompted for your Oxford Brookes log in.

    Once you're on one of the journal homepages, you can look at which articles have been published most recently. This is a good way to get a feel of what current geography research looks like. 

     

    You can also use the search box to search for a name or topic. If you want to search multiple journals at once, you can use a database. There's more information about databases further down this page.

    Imagine you saw this reference:

     

    Middleton, J. (2010) 'Sense and the city: exploring the embodied geographies of urban walking', Social and Cultural Geography, 11(6), pp. 575-596.

     

    From this we can tell that:

    • J Middleton is the author
    • 'Sense and the city: exploring the embodied geographies of urban walking' is the title of the article
    • Social and Cultural Geography is the title of the journal
    • 11 is the volume number
    • 6 is the issue number
    • This article starts on page 575 and finishes on page 596.

     

    Have a look at the  Open University's guide to journal articles (PDF) if you want more explanation of what volumes and issues are. You can use  Cite Them Right Online to help you accurately create your own references to journal articles.

    If you want to research a topic, it's a good idea to start with a database. A database is way of finding journal articles (and sometimes other material) on a particular topic or by a particular author.  The library pays for access to a wide range of databases, which you are encouraged to make use of.

     

    All databases will give you the bibliographic information (e.g. author, title, journal name) about an article, some will give you an abstract (brief summary) of the article, and some will also give you the full text as well (i.e. the complete article). 

    • LibrarySearch is a platform  that covers our library books/ebooks, journals and more. It's a useful starting point and easy to search, though we recommend using a specialized database (such as the others in this list) for more in-depth research

     

    Two important databases for geography are:

    • Web of Science contains the Social Sciences Citation Index and Science Citation Index. They provide bibliographic information and abstracts from a wide range of key journals for all aspects of geography. This database is particularly useful for physical and environmental geography.
    • Academic Search Complete is a large multidisciplinary database, containing lots of full text articles. This database is particularly useful for human geography.

    Other useful databases include:

    • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) covers a wide range of social science disciplines, and is useful for social or human geography research.
    • JSTOR includes journals from a wide range of humanities, social sciences and science disciplines are included. JSTOR is particularly useful for older journal content.
    • SAGE Premier Collection provides access to about 480 journals published by Sage covering a wide range of subjects within the social sciences, humanities and life sciences.
    • Science Direct contains an extensive range of journals published by Elsevier. This journal collection is particularly useful for physical and environmental geography
    • Sociological Abstracts covers a broad range of subjects including aspects of social geography. It contains journal information with abstracts so if a result looks useful you'll need to find the full-text of the article elsewhere.