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High school research at UMW

A guide to Simpson Library for high school students

Reference Librarian

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Peter Catlin

Journal articles

Clip art of documentsScholarly journals (a.k.a. "academic journals") are similar to magazines, in that they publish regular issues. But, unlike the articles in magazines, the articles in scholarly journals are written by scholars, and are meant to be read by other scholars.

Scholarly journals publish various types of articles. Some types of articles are typically peer-reviewed before publication, including all of the following:

  • Studies that analyze data, including data from surveys or scientific experiments
  • Meta-analyses, which analyze data from multiple studies
  • Literature reviews, which summarize multiple studies on a particular subject
  • Case studies, which document particular cases (that is, events or instances of something)
  • Art criticism, such as literature criticism or film criticism
  • Articles that describe new theories or concepts or methods
  • Conference proceedings

Scholarly journals sometimes publish articles that are not peer-reviewed, such as the following:

  • Letters to the journal
  • Editorials or other opinion pieces
  • Book reviews


A database is an electronic collection of journal articles or other documents. Most journals are not available for free. Schools pay subscription fees to give students access to copyrighted content.

Note: Some journals ARE available for free on the Internet. These are called open-access journals, and you can search them using the Directory of Open Access Journals.

UMW pays for subscriptions to approximately 200 databases. High school students may access these databases for free while connected to the Simpson Library Wi-Fi, or while using the guest computers in Simpson Library.

Three computers for visitors, on the first floor of Simpson Library


To find articles from peer-reviewed journals, use the main search box on the library homepage. On the search results page, limit your results to "Peer-reviewed journals."

Screenshot of the search results page, with "Peer Reviewed Journals" highlighted

If you aren't at UMW, then you won't be able to access the UMW library databases, but you can still access these free databases: