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Pan African Studies


Top Pan-African Studies Journals

Peer Review

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Sometimes called scholarly, peer-reviewed, or academic, these terms all refer to journals that require review by a group of experts in the field before an article can be published. These experts are looking for things like appropriate methodology, proper research and citations, advancements to the field, etc. These articles are typically for other scholars with a high level of knowledge in the area of publication. The purpose is typically to advance the field of study and share developments made by scholars.

Look for the option in databases to narrow your search by peer-reviewed or scholarly.

Learn more about the process video from the University of Kansas: Peer Review In Three Minutes

Other kinds of articles

Popular articles are written for a general audience. These articles can inform, entertain, give the opinions of individuals, talk about current events, sell products, or generate money. News, magazines, blogs, social media, TV shows, opinion articles, and many kinds of websites fit into this category.

Trade or professional journals are intended to share practice information with professionals and practitioners in a profession. These articles are usually chosen for publication by an editor and not a group of experts. They may also include advertisements and flashy images that you don't usually see in peer-reviewed journals.

Keyword Searching

When searching Google, you might begin by asking "why do police kill people of color more?"  Searching Library databases are a little different, and they don't respond as well to full sentences. Instead, use keywords to search to get the best result.

Keywords are the essential words in your research question that focus on the main concepts you are interested in. Other words are not essential to searching. The keywords are highlighted in the research question below:

Research question: What is the connection between race and police brutality?

Connecting words and other search tricks

Using connecting words like AND, OR, & NOT can help you find what you are looking for. 

  • use AND to connect terms that you that are all needed
    • race AND police brutality
  • use OR to search for synonyms and related terms
    • race OR ethnicity OR racism OR minorities
    • police brutality OR excessive force OR police shootings
  • use NOT to exclude terms that are unwanted
    • police brutality NOT riots
  • use quotation marks "" around phrases to get exact results
    • "use of force"

Google Scholar

Multicolor Google Scholar logo

With Google Scholar, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts, and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other websites.

Be sure to link Google Scholar to the Cal State LA Library to get free access to many library resources.

Cal State LA library homepage with a red arrow to the Google Scholar button


To access the library resources, click on the links in the right-hand column, like Find it @ CalState LA.

Arrow pointing to link on right-side of article info for "find it @ Cal State LA"

Open Access Journals

Open-Access journals are journals that do not require a paid subscription to access, and are open to anyone to read.

Request Articles (CSU+)


If you find a journal article that is relevant to you, but the library doesn't have access to, we can get it for you from another library!

Steps to Request:

  1. Search your favorite Library Database for articles
  2. If you find an article with no full-text, click the "find it" button to check for access across all of the Library's holdings
  3. If we do not have access, you will see the message No Access Found
  4. Log into your library account using your MyCalStateLA info
  5. The request link will appear
  6. Review the form and submit
  7. The typical processing time is 1 business day, but may take up to 10 business days for hard to find items

Article record in a database

OneSearch view with link to article


OneSearch record with arrow to the account log in

OneSearch reccord with arrow to the "get it" link


John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300