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Urban Studies - Research Guide: Articles

Guide to resources in urban studies

General databases

In an interdisciplinary field like urban studies, general databases that search across many fields can be an excellent starting point.

Subject Databases

For more in-depth searching, Penn Libraries provides access to variety of subject-specific databases.

Evaluating Articles

For some classes, you will be asked  to focus your research on scholarly articles. Scholarly articles (also known as peer-reviewed, refereed, or academic articles)  are distinguished by going through the peer review process, in which they are evaluated and given feedback by experts in a field. 

How can you tell whether an article is peer-reviewed? See "verifying peer-review" for more information. 

Publication Types

 Publications can be broken down into three general types: scholarly, popular, &  professional (or trade.) For an overview of these publication types, see . (Click on the table below for larger type.) 

Rutgers University Libraries. (2016). Journal types: A comparative chart. Retrieved from

For information on video, see the Penn Library Lounge's video "Scholarly & Popular Articles."

Verifying peer-review

There are several ways to verify that an article comes from a peer-reviewed journal:

  • Many databases will allow you to limit your search results to scholarly/ peer-reviewed items. (Note that using this limiter will eliminate books and dissertations from your results.)
  • Look at the homepage of the publication in which your article was published. If it is peer-reviewed, it will contain a statement about that. 
  • Look up the publication in which your article was published in Ulrich's Periodical Directory.  For peer-reviewed journals, the Ulrich's entry should list the publication as refereed and the content type as "Academic/Scholarly."

       For information on video, see the Penn Library Lounge's video "Scholarly & Popular Articles."