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HIST 83/184 - North America: Peoples & Lands (Wigmore)

What is a scholarly article?


This activity is designed to get you started for your Article Review Assignment, which will help you with your Research/Curriculum Project.

Assignment details. You need to review:

  • A scholarly article of your choosing
  • Published during the last 20 years
  • Peer-reviewed in a scholarly journal or published as a chapter in a scholarly book


Can you find one today that fits this criteria?



  • Pick a database from the list below, preferably America: History and Life to search
  • Enter the database, strategize your search terms, and utilize limiters
  • Spend 15 minutes searching for a great article or book chapter you could use for this assignment
  • Once you find a good one, upload the PDF to this Google Folder

Tips for evaluating an article for scholarliness:

  • Length: scholarly articles are usually pretty long, over 5 pages
  • References: they usually have a long bibliography that includes primary source evidence as well as secondary sources
  • Credentials of the author: Who is the author? Do they have a PhD? In what? Do they teach at a University or college?
  • You can also check if a journal is peer-reviewed by looking it up in Ulrichsweb, the authoritative index of all periodicals. If it says the journal is "refereed," that means it is peer-reviewed.

We will examine three random articles from the folder as a class and see if they fit the assignment criteria at the end.

Scholarly Articles

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


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


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.

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.


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

Best Journals for Historical Geography

Articles found in the following journals might be particularly relevant for your topics. Click on the link to access a journal and search it.

Physical Geography

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 the role Teddy Roosevelt played in the creation of the National Parks, you would do a search like this:

-Use quotation marks around a phrase, such as "National Parks".

-​You can use synonyms or related terms to describe your topics.  For example, "National Parks" or Conservation

-You can also use an asterisk at the end of a word to retrieve various endings.  For example, park* would retrieve park, parks, and parking

When you look at your list of results in the database, if the full-text of an article is not readily available, click on the Find it @ SCU Libraries link 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!