Selecting Journal Articles
Where was the article published? Does it come from a scholarly journal published by a university press or one that is connected to an organization of researchers?
What is the author's main argument? See the accompanying abstract or skim the first page or two of the article.
What are the author's qualifications? Look at the brief biographical sketch accompanying the article or check the web. What other articles and books has the author published?
When was the article published? Are there more recent articles that may incorporate newer evidence and interpretations?
Reading Journal Articles Critically
How does the author summarize previous scholarship on the questions involved? Thinking about this will add to your understanding of the broader historical context.
What disciplinary approach/es does the author take? For example, is the article written from the point of view of history or political science? Are there interpretations from additional academic fields, like anthropology or sociology, introduced within an article that explores an historical or political question?
What makes this author's argument significant? What new ideas does this article offer?
What kinds of primary sources does the author use? What evidence does the author offer to support the argument and how does the author interpret that evidence?
What are the author's conclusions? What concluding ideas does the author draw from his or her argument? Do you find it convincing? Are there questions that were not fully answered?
Journal articles provide scholarly information for your projects concerning the history of cartography, travel and global connections.
1) Because scholarly articles are peer reviewed and revised prior to publication, they offer reliable information that contributes to ongoing research questions.
2) Scholarly articles are also documented with footnotes that refer to the research question under discussion. Look at these notes for further sources you can read.
The following indexes are the best ways for you to identify journal articles:
There are also indexes devoted to literary history, economics and art history that may be of use for specific topics: