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Mat-Su College: Music

Guide for Music courses at Mat-Su College

What is a journal article?

Professors and other experts in the humanities will often studies that are too short and specific to be spun out into entire books. Instead, these are published in journals as journal articles.

Journal articles are not a good way to learn about the entire life or work of a composer. Instead, they will focus on some specific part of the composer's life or work:

  • "Mozart and the castrati"
  • "The Fandango Scene in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro"
  • "Mozart's Journey to Berlin"

Still, once you have read an encyclopedia article and at least skimmed a book, you should have a sense of a topic you might want to focus in on. At that point it makes sense to look for journal articles on that topic.

The best way to find journal articles is through the library website.

What is the difference between a journal article and a magazine article?

Journal articles (also called scholarly articles) are different from magazine articles in many ways:

  • Journal articles are usually written by professors or other experts. Journal articles always list the credentials of the author or authors. Magazine articles are typically written by freelance authors. They rarely list the author's credentials.
  • Journal articles have few if any pictures. Magazine articles may have many bright, colorful pictures to draw in casual readers.
  • Journal articles always include citations. Magazine articles rarely include citations.
  • Journal articles are rarely free online; journal articles appear in journals that might cost anywhere from 50 to 500 dollars an issue. Magazine articles are often free online or appear in magazines that can be purchased at the grocery store for under five dollars.

The best way to find journal articles is through the library website.

Where do I find scholarly articles?

Scholarly articles are typically not freely available on the open web. As such, you should use an article database that the library pays for and makes available to you. An article database is a collection of articles.The library subscribes to many article databases. You can find a complete list by clicking "Databases" on the library website:


Screenshot of homepage with "Research Databases" link highlighted


There are a few databases you will find particularly useful for music research:

You will be asked to login when you try to enter an article database. Login using your UA username and password (i.e., what you use for Blackboard).

Read the next sections to learn how to use Academic Search Premier and JSTOR.

How do I use Academic Search Premier?

Click here to enter Academic Search Premier.

When you first enter ASP, you will see a page with a lot of buttons and search boxes. Don't be overwhelmed. Focus on the search bars at the top of the pageScreenshot of Academic Search Premier search interface

Enter your search terms on the first search bar and click "Search." You should then see a page that looks similar to this (minus the green highlighting):Screenshot of Academic Search Premier search results

In this results page, you can narrow down your search results to items from scholarly journals by clicking the button on the left next to the text "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" and you can access the full text of articles by clicking "PDF Full Text" or "Check Library for Full Text."

How do I use JSTOR?

Click here to enter JSTOR.

JSTOR has a clean interface. On entering JSTOR you will see a single search bar. Enter your search terms:

Screenshot of JSTOR search interface

In the search results you can click an article's title (1) to see a page-by-page view inside your browser, or you can click "Download PDF" (2) to download the entire article as a single file:

JStor search results page

If you do choose two download a PDF, you will first have to click a button saying you agree not to redistribute the PDF.