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ENL 3451 - Topics in British Literature (Hopkins)


Identifying and searching core literature journals is an often overlooked but effective research strategy. It's important to know the key publications in your field as well as who and what they publish. This can provide valuable insight into the scope of journals, current trends, and the norms for structuring a work of literary criticism. Searching these journals individually can be more controlled and strategic than conducting a broad review in a database. The modules that follow walk you through several strategies for identifying core literature journals while searching MLA, JSTOR, and using the Libraries' journals list.   

Before we discuss search strategies. Here are a few core journals for this subject area:

  • JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic philology.
  • Modern Philology
  • Scandinavian Studies
  • Speculum
  • Studies in Philology

Journals in MLA

Determining whether a journal is in your field can be tricky, especially when searching a multi-disciplinary database like JSTOR. However, there are a few simple strategies to help guide you through this process. For example, in the MLA section of this guide, I referenced the following article:

Translating the Gospel in Viking Age England: The Evidence from Two Old Norse Loan Translations from Old English.

Since the article is indexed in MLA, there's a good chance the journal has a language or literature focus. However, if you want to dig deeper, click on "Journal Detail" in the article record:

This will direct you to the journal's information page where you can find out where and how often it's published, whether it's peer-reviewed, who's on the editorial board, their affiliations, and the scope of the journal, which indicates the it's primary focus. Then you can "search within" or browse back issues to see how closely the published articles match their established guidelines. You may also want to go one step further to see if they have a professional-looking external site that also matches their guidelines.

Journals in JSTOR

In JSTOR, the journal always appears next to the article record, as in this case for an article called. "The Political Sagas:"

Here you can see that this journal is published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. Click on any of those links to get more information about the University of Illinois Press, The Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, or the journal Scandinavian Studies with a complete list of back issues and a link to their external site.

Using the Journals List

All the academic journals UCF has access to can be accessed through the Journals List on the Libraries' homepage. Although these journals are indexed in the databases discussed above (and others) identifying and exploring them by title is a more controlled and strategic form of searching that can yield insight into current trends as well as the key researchers in your field. To get started, click the journals list tab below the Primo search bar:

From there, you'll be directed to a page where you can browse our collection of online journals by keyword or title: For example, you want to locate journals with a focus on Philology, simply add that to the search and review the list:

From there, click any title to be directed to the journal's page in Primo complete with a list of full text options. In many cases, there will be multiple access points on different platforms, very often with different date ranges. For example, Modern Philology is available on Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, and the University of Chicago Press. No single platform has full coverage, but the three combined do:

If we select JSTOR, we'll connect to the journal's homepage where we can search within, browse back issues, and link out to more information about the journal and publisher. Now that you have a better sense of how to identify core journals either in a database or through the Journals List, let's take a look at another strategy to help you stay as current as possible on your topic: Journal alerts.

Journal Alerts

Once you've identified a list of journals that are relevant to your topic, you can set up alerts that will notify you when a new issue is published and in some cases, you can even set up alerts for specific keywords or saved searches. This will vary on what each database offers. For example, MLA is an EBSCOhost database, so you'll need to start by creating a personal account:

Note that this will be a personal account that is not connected to your NID. Once you've done that, you can create permanent folders to save articles of interest, create shared folders, and set up search and journal alerts as well as RSS feeds. For a complete list of services available with a personal EBSCO account, including video tutorials, click help in the upper right.

Many other database providers, such as ProQuest and Gale, provide similar services. While you can create a personal account in JSTOR, there are fewer bells & whistles and most JSTOR journals are under a five year embargo, so think of it as an archival collection and use MLA to stay current.