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HIST 11A-12A: Slavery and Unfreedom (Brillman/Gudgeirsson/Wigmore): Scholarly Articles

What is a scholarly article?

Exercise 1

Here are two articles on the Underground Railroad.   Look at them briefly.  What are the differences between these two articles?  Can you tell which one is a scholarly article?

"From Detroit to the Promised Land",  American History, Apr2007, Vol. 42 Issue 1, p40-45. 6p.

"Canada: the Promised Land for U.S. Slaves",  Western Journal of Black Studies.  Summer2011, Vol. 35 Issue 3, p208-217. 10p.

Exercise 2

Writing a Critical Review of a Journal Article

This exercise will help you analyze and write a review of a scholarly article.  Complete the worksheet and submit it.

Don't forget to click on "Send me a copy of my answers".  

Scholarly Articles

To find scholarly articles on your topic (secondary sources), try the following databases:


Historical Abstracts
Provides access to articles on the history of the world from 1450 to the present (except the United States and Canada covered in America: History and Life).

America: History and Life
Provides access to articles on the history of the United States and Canada.


ProQuest Social Sciences

Sociological Abstracts

ProQuest Criminal Justice

Political Science Complete

Women's Studies International

Gender Watch

LGBT Life with Full-Text


Provides full-text online access to back issues of selected scholarly journals in history, political science,  and other fields of the humanities and social sciences.  Be aware that the current issues (current 2 or 3 years) are not included.

Humanities Full-Text

Academic Search Complete

Project Muse
Searchable database that provides access to the full-text of journals published by many university presses in the humanities, and social sciences.   Coverage varies for each title.


To get a list of all the databases available at SCU, go to the library home page and click on the DATABASES tab. 

How to Search the Databases

How to Search the Databases:

Just enter keywords describing your topic.  Use the connector AND between your keywords or enter keywords in different search boxes.    For example if you are interested in religious motivations of the British abolitionists, you could do a search like this

You can use synonyms or related terms to describe your topics.  For example, "religion or moral"  in the search above.

You can also use an asterisk at the end of a word to retrieve various endings.  For example, abolitionis* would retrieve abolitionist and abolitionists, as well as abolitionism.

When you look at your list of results in the database, If the full-text of an article is not readily available i, click on the FIND IT AT SCU icon to see if it's available in another database or in print in the library.  If it's not you will have the option of using the Interlibrary Loan Service.  It's free and very fast!