Contemporary Canadian Government & Politics:
A Practical Research Guide

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4. Finding and Evaluating Substantive Information
Finding Information Evaluating Information

Finding Information: Scholarly Research in Academic Journals

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Scholarly journal articles are a key component of research in politics and government. They are the major publishing format for academic research besides books, containing current and usually narrowly-focused information.

Scholarly or academic journals are usually published by a university press or a scholarly association. The articles in these journals are written by scholars and specialists who have conducted research in the field and who are usually affiliated with a university or research centre. They publish to disseminate the findings of their research, and provide full referencing of their sources. A key aspect of these journals is that articles are only published after they have gone through peer review, where other scholars have examined the manuscript to ensure they meet academic standards and provide a contribution to the discipline. These journals are also referred to as peer-reviewed or refereed journals. The key scholarly journals for Canadian Government & Politics are listed below, although many other academic journals exist from all over the world which will also occasionally include articles on Canadian government and political issues. (See also Part 6: Special Topics for journals with a more specific focus in Canadian Government & Politics.)

Professional journals, published by a professional association, think tank, research institute, non-profit group, government or other organization of members who practice in the field, may also include scholarly articles, and these often have an editorial board that reviews some of the articles before publishing, but these journals usually also publish articles that present the opinions and experience of practitioners. Articles from these kinds of journals need to be critically evaluated individually.

Contrast these with popular magazines, which are generally published by a commercial publishing company and intended for the general public. The articles in these magazines are often written by journalists without expertise in the field and who usually provide no reference to their sources. Editing or fact-checking may be minimal.

Articles can also be "published" on the Internet by anyone independently with no editing, checking, or endorsement from anyone. To critically evaluate all kinds of articles found, see the tips in: Evaluating Information: Articles.

To find journal articles, use an index or full-text journal database subscribed to by academic and some public libraries. These specialized indexes cover many hundreds or even thousands of journals allowing you to look up your topic and find articles in many journals at once. Note that most indexes and article databases include a mix of scholarly, professional, and popular journals, so as you search you should make sure your research includes articles from one or more of the key scholarly journals listed here. For a list of other useful journals, and the indexes to use for finding articles of all kinds, see: Finding Information: Analysis and Reports.

Key Academic Journals on Canadian Government and Politics:


Canadian Journal of Political Science (CJPS), formerly Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science.
Ottawa: Canadian Political Science Association, 1935 - .

Canadian Public Administration .
Toronto: Institute of Public Administration of Canada, 1958 - .

Canadian Public Policy
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1975 - .



Some key multidisciplinary academic journals that can also include articles on Canadian government & politics:

Journal of Canadian Studies
Canadian Historical Review
International Journal of Canadian Studies
British Journal of Canadian Studies
American Review of Canadian Studies

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Primary Sources   Special Topics   Citing Sources   Ask Your Librarian!   Detailed Table of Contents

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