Graduate Student Research Toolkit

Books vs. Journal Articles for Research

When you do research, you typically search for both books and journal articles. The reason you generally need both is that they present different kinds of information, at different levels of detail, and in different ways. Here is a side-by-side comparison.

Books - over 300,000 in our Library's collection!      Journal Articles
Hundreds of pages      Generally 5-30 pages. 
Cover a bigger part of the topic      Cover a small, specialized sub-topic
Take longer to get published (1-2 years for scholarly books)      Information is more recent. Take a few months to a year to get published
Information was gathered and put together over a greater amount of time, allowing a longer-term look at the topic.      More up-to-date information, but more chance that errors have slipped through or long-term implications were unforeseen. 
A look at the wider topic. Depending on how long the book is and how the chapters are organized, it still may be a deep analysis with lots of detail.       A very deep and detailed look at a very narrow slice of a topic. Less context.
Books are published individually. They may be re-published as new editions.      Articles all relating to one subject but written by multiple authors are published together in issues of a journal.
Find books by searching WorldCat (for print books in local libraries) or these ebook collections from EBSCO and ProQuest.      Find articles by searching in the databases. Locate databases on your topic by going to Databases By Subject.

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