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Nursing Information Literacy Program

Why use the library databases?

What is the difference between a magazine and a peer reviewed journal?


Magazines are written for the general public.  They often have a lot of advertisements in them.

Journals, on the other hand, are targeted to students or professionals working in a particular field.  The usually have very few ads in them.  The articles usually include bibliographies at at the end and the author's or authors' credentials (where they went to college and where they work) are given.

Sometimes a journal is peer-reviewed which means that all of the articles have been read and approved for publication by experts in the field.

Peer reviewed materials are excellent sources of information for scholarly papers!


Scholarly journal, trade magazine, or popular magazine?

Scholarly journal, trade magazine, or popular magazine?







plain cover

plain paper

black/white graphics & illustrations, many charts & graphs

pages consecutive throughout each volume

cover depicts industrial setting

glossy paper

pictures & illustrations in color

each issue starts with page 1

eye-catching cover

glossy paper

pictures & illustrations in color

each issue starts with page 1


students studying in a particular field, researchers, or professionals

members of a specific business, industry, or organization



research projects, methodology, & theory

articles written by contributing authors

industry trends, new products or techniques, & organizational news

articles written by staff or contributing authors

personalities, news, & general interest articles

articles written by staff, may be unsigned


peer reviewed/refereed

bibliographies included

editorial review

may have short bibliographies

editorial review

no bibliographies


very few or no ads

all or most of the ads are trade related

many ads throughout


Critical Care Nurse

Current Psychology

Journal of Small Business Management

Literature-Film Quarterly

Business Marketing

Dairy Farmer

Hospital Law Newsletter

Nursing Times


Ladies Home Journal

New York

Psychology Today

Sports Illustrated


Understanding the peer reviewed process

The chart above is from the article cited below. (Reading the article is not required!)

APA citation shown in a Word document


Library databases

Library Databases

Finding articles from peer reviewed journals and other sources is most efficiently accomplished by using the library databases. 

The library databases: 

  • Tell you where the information came from: a book, magazine, journal, newspaper, or video, for example.  
  • Tell you the original date of publication/production. This information is called the citation.  Be sure to write down or copy and paste all of the information listed below whenever you read, save, or print an article so that you will have it available for your Works Cited page.

More information about APA citation style format can be found at the APA Citation Style library research guide. 

Why use the library databases instead of Google to find research materials for your papers or projects?

To save time finding full text scholarly sources of information!

The SC4 library subscribes to over 200 databases. The full list is available. You can search the databases individually or search them all at once by using the OneSearch box found on the library homepage. We will discuss using the OneSearch box later in this program. Sometimes, it is easiest to use a subject specific database to find information. The SC4 library subscribes to a number of excellent nursing and health science databases which will  be described in the next section.