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Introduction to journals

The University of Huddersfield Library provides access to a wide range of subscription journals.

This guide explains what they are, why they are useful, and how you can find them.

About journals

What is a journal?

A journal is a publication containing articles, reviews and editorials, usually focused on a specific topic or subject area. For example, there are journals called 'International Journal of Public Health' and 'Business Strategy Review'.

Like magazines, most journals publish regular issues online and/or in print. Each issue contains articles by different authors. Journals are therefore a good way to discover current research, thinking and news in your field. 

Screenshot of journal entry in library catalogue, text reads international journal of drug policy by International Harm Reduction Association. eJournal: full text online or view the journal browse now.









There are thousands of different academic journals. The Library subscribes to a wide range. Most are available electronically, though a limited selection are only available in printed issues on the Library shelves.


What is a journal article?

A journal article is a discrete piece or information or research, written by a named author or group of authors, and published within a journal issue.

example journal article record in library search engine with title, author, journal details, brief abstract and links to PDF, full text, browse journal and cited by and cites.


Journals are alternatively called periodicals or serials.

A journal issue contains multiple journal articles.

Issues of the journal may be grouped into larger sets called volumes. Volumes contain all the issues in a particular year or time period. You will need the issue and volume numbers (if they are available), when referencing articles in APA 7th style.

Scholarly, peer-reviewed, and trade journals are defined in the next tab.

What is a scholarly journal?

A scholarly, academic or scientific journal contains the findings of recent research studies or new theories, and is usually used aimed at an academic audience. It is particularly useful for academic essays and literature reviews. 

What is a peer-reviewed journal?

Articles in peer-reviewed or refereed scholarly journals have been independently assessed by other experts in the field before publication. This is a quality-control procedure which means other experts have agreed these articles contain scientifically valid and novel findings. However, these articles are still open to being challenged or disputed by other research, and you should still critically evaluate them before you use them.


What is a trade journal?

A trade journal, publication, or magazine contains articles sharing current news, trends and opinions in a particular industry, and is usually written for an audience of people working in this area. Trade journals are usually written and edited by journalists, rather than subject experts. As a result, they are more likely to contain factual inaccuracies and/or bias. However, they are a useful source for keeping up with current practices and news in your field.


For more help with journals, ask your librarians by emailing

Why use journals?

Why use journals? 1. Primary sources; 2. Allow you to critique or replicate research methods; 3. Published more regularly than books; 4. Peer-reviewed journals are independently 'quality-controlled' by subject experts; 6. Trade journals keep you up-to-date with current industry practices.

Computer / software requirements

To read electronic journal articles online you will usually only require an up-to-date web browser.

Most articles can also be downloaded in PDF format to read offline. This will require a PDF reader on your device. University computers have the necessary software.

If you need help with software then use HudHelp, the digital self-service portal, or contact IT Support.