This one is for those of you who like bullet points to break text down. 🙂
Ways to make using journals easier:
- Ask your tutor if s/he can recommend journal articles.
- Use the index!! Journals usually have a table of contents ie a list of the articles and their authors but usually the index is published as a separate volume, typically every year.
- Many journals publish ‘abstracts’ – sounds scary but it’s just a short summary of the essential argument. This can be really useful in helping you to decide whether or not the article is relevant to what you’re studying. The abstracts may be at the beginning of the volume, in the index volume or at the beginning of each essay (some journals don’t have them).
- Read the first and last few paragraphs of the article. This should be enough to tell you if you’re going to be able to understand the article and whether or not it’s relevant to what you’re studying.
- If you find an article that interests you and is relevant to what you’re studying then you will find it hugely helpful.
- If you feel lost and in despair when looking through a journal either you’ve picked up the wrong one or you need to come back to it when you’re less tired. Sometimes things that don’t make any sense on a bad day seem much more approachable on a good one. 🙂