A scholarly journal is different from a magazine or other periodical because it’s a respected forum in which scholars share their research. The articles in journals are usually peer reviewed, and can be taken as legitimate scholarly knowledge.
If you take a side-by-side look at Time Magazine and Molecular Microbiology, you’ll spot the differences pretty quickly.
|Look:||Black-and-White Charts||Glossy Photographs|
|Ads:||Little or no advertising||Full-Page Ads|
|Typical Article Title:||“Structure-Function relationship of CysB transcription factor”||"Inside the Mind of George Bush"|
|Purpose:||To Communicate Current Research||To Sell SUVs and Viagra|
Easy. Maybe you know that Cell is a highly-respected journal and you want to see some articles from it, or you heard on the radio about a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Either way, virtually all databases allow you to search for articles using some or all of the words in a journal’s title.
Depending on the database you’re using, you’ll either have a text box labeled something like “journal title,” “source title,” or “source publication,” or you’ll have a generic text box which you can limit using drop-down menus. Just type in a journal’s name, and run the search.
Of course, if you just search on the title of the journal, you’ll get back every single article from that journal that the database contains. Searching Web of Science for “Nature Cell Biology” gets 1,395 articles. It would take you days to wade through that. But since you’re probably interested in articles on a specific topic or by a specific author, you can go ahead and add “Liu” as the author, or “telomeres” as the topic, and you’re down to a manageable number (if you add both, you’re down to a single article. That’s the power of limiting your search).