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Undergraduate Student Support: Journals

This library guide strives to provide e-support for undergraduate students at the NWU.

What does Peer Reviewed Mean?


  • Before publication and article is reviewed by a panel of experts in the field.
  • They might recommend changes or even reject an article.
  • The reviewing process is rigorous to ensure a high academic and scientific standard of contributions.
  • It is very prestigious for scholars to have their articles accepted and published in well ranked journals.

Constructing a Search Strategy

A search query consists of all the keywords you identified during topic analysis of your assignment / paper's title.

e.g. if you are a student in Communication Studies and the topic of your assignment / paper is  "The role that political propaganda plays in mass media"

you might construct your search query along any one of the following lines:

  1. (mass media OR broadcasting OR radio OR television) AND propaganda AND (politic* OR government*)
  2. propaganda AND ("freedom of speech" OR "freedom of the press" OR "right to know") AND (media OR broadcast* OR journalis*)
  3. role AND propaganda AND "mass media"

Boolean Operators


Boolean Operators:  AND, OR, NOT





journalism AND war AND propaganda


You will retrieve articles that:


  • contain ALL your keywords
  • will be more SPECIFIC
  • are LOW in QUANTITY
  • are high in QUALITY





Boolean operators


You will retrieve information with ALL your keywords COMBINED





broadcasting OR television OR radio


You will retrieve articles that:


  • may contain ANY of your keywords
  • will be more NON-SPECIFIC
  • are higher in QUANTITY
  • are lower in QUALITY




Boolean operators


You will retrieve information with ANY one of your articles




media NOT journalism

(orange NOT fruit)


  • You will EXCLUDE certain keywords
  • will be more SPECIFIC

Boolean operators


You will retrieve information that EXCLUDE certain keywords


Search for Journal Articles

SAePublication   articles with South-African Content (Recommended)

And for international scholarly journals, search:

EDS Search   Advanced Search

Search Tips

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Journals @ NWU

Periodicals = Journals + Magazines

Journals report original research and can be recognized by their scientific style of writing.  Articles tend to be long and include bibliographies.  The author(s) and title appear prominently on the first page of the article.  Their content is aimed at the scholarly community. Articles are peer-reviewed and of high academic and scientific standard.

Magazines cater for popular opinion and interest.  They are easy to read, shorter in length, attractive and informative.  They are not necessarily written by experts and not peer-reviewed. Time, Newsweek, Science and Nature are examples of magazines and although they are accepted as authoritative, they are not subjected to a strict pre-publication viewing process.  Use these with caution when writing assignments.

A - Z List of Journals you can access at the NWU Library

Refine your Search Query

Refine your search query:

Q:  How do I decide which terms to use?

A:  Do topic analysis


Q:  How do I identify synonyms?

A:  Subject dictionaries & encyclopedias


Q:  What if I want to use several terms / words / keywords?

A:  String keywords together with Boolean operators “and, or, not” e.g. (media OR broadcasting OR radio) AND journalism NOT propaganda


Q:  What if there are several possible terms to use? 

A:  Synonyms are good and will broaden your search.  Also include different ways to spell a word e.g.  organization / organisation, inflection / inflexion


Q:  What if the concept consists of more than one word? 

A:  Put phrases in quotation marks e.g. “small scale farming”


Q:  How to I include all inflections of a word? 

A:  Use truncation, e.g. particip* to also find participate, participates, participant, participants, participation, participating, participant)