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Social Sciences: Finding journal articles

Subject guide for social science courses: criminology / sociology

Searching for academic journal articles

Peer reviewed journal articles form a key part of your research at university. As with books, you will find them on your reading lists but you will also need to search for them independently. The best way to do this is to search a subject database or use a tool like MySearch to look into lots of subject databases at the same time.


mySearch allows you to search across a range of different databases containing different resource types; to find peer reviewed journal articles, you will need to limit your search to 'peer reviewed'

Click here on this MySearch link to go directly to the advanced searching functionality

Search strategy proforma - use this to design your searches

The best way to undertake a successful search is to fill in a search proforma before you start. This does not need to be time consuming. To learn the basics about finding articles with MySearch, view the tutorial below. To learn more about how to do a thorough literature search, click on the Literature searches tab above.

Subject focused databases

As mentioned in the introduction to this guide, social sciences are very broad in their scope. Consequently, many sources may provide useful material for you e.g. health subject databases contain heath policy and practice information; law database provide articles from legal journals. Some of the databases with more of a focus on sociology and ciminology include

  • SocINDEX
  • PsycInfo
  • Web of Science

We have lists of Sociology and Criminology related databases and data sources, with descriptions about coverage, to help you identify relevant material, but they are not exhaustive. Consider looking at some of the other subject guides and also subject resource lists. Those studying anthropology units should look at the Archeology and anthropology subject guide. Remember that MySearch provides a helpful starting point as it searches many databases simultaneously.

What is an academic journal article?

What is peer review?