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PACS 108: Pacific Worlds: Journal Articles

An introduction to Pacific Studies

Peer Reviewed Journals vs. the "Popular Press"

In the academic world, you will often hear reference to "Peer Reviewed Journals" or "Academic Journals" or just "Journals" as the type of research you should be citing in your own papers. Articles that are published in these types of sources are generally considered to be more "authoritative" than articles that appear in newspapers or magazines, for a few reasons:

  • Prior to being published, journal articles are reviewed by at least one (and usually more) scholars who specialize in the topic being addressed, to make sure that the research is accurate, reliable, well-sourced and fully documented;
  • The biggest difference between academic or peer-reviewed articles and articles in the popular press is that academic articles always fully and thoroughly cite their sources of information -- these citations include a notation in the text of the article, and a bibliographic citation at the end of the article, which tells readers where the information came from.

Newspapers and magazines are often less strict in their reviewing processes and how they cite sources, which is why they are considered less authoritative. But: They also have their place in Pacific Islands research. This is because in many cases, a newspaper or magazine article may be the first time information on a specific topic is published. Academic journals often only publish once or twice per year, and the peer review process can itself take months ... so it can take up to two years for an academic journal article to make it through the publication process, whereas a newspaper or magazine article can be published in a matter of days, weeks or months. So if you're looking at a really recent topic (for instance, the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has impacted the Pacific Islands), you will be more likely to find information in the "popular press" than in academic journals.

This video has tips on how to use the sources below to find online journal articles: VIDEO 4: Finding Journal Articles

OneSearch Mānoa

Google Scholar

Google Scholar

  • Google Scholar is another useful means of searching inside scholarly journals. In some cases, Google Scholar and OneSearch both search through the same sources, but they search in different ways, and so you may find things here that you don't find using OneSearch.
  • Although you can reach Google Scholar on the open internet, you should always log in through the library's electronic resources portal (use the link above) -- this is because the library's version of Google Scholar automatically recognizes articles that the library has paid for through its database subscriptions, and so you can immediately get the articles for free in full text. If you were to find the same articles using the open Internet version, you would be required to pay for access to the articles.
  • If you find an article in Google Scholar that the library doesn't subscribe to electronically, be sure to search in the Voyager catalog to see if we subscribe to the print version.

The Contemporary Pacific online