ENG 3010 - Intermediate Writing


1. I cannot find a journal for my discipline

  • Search the ejournal list directly. Use a very broad term like marketing and make sure the Title Contains All Words is selected as the search type.
  • Use a library Research Guide for the discipline to find a journal or database recommendation from a librarian.
  • Search the library's Summon discovery system for a topic related to your discipline (discourse community), and look at the citation of an article that might interest you. Find the name of the journal the article is published in. You can then find and link to articles from that journal using the ejournals search on the library homepage.
  • Try a Google search for professional association [name of discipline]. For example: professional association marketing. Look for a Publications or Research link to find journals published by that association.

2. How do I find scholarly articles?

  • Be sure you are using a library database. Use a Research Guide to recommend what database you should use for your topic.
  • Know the difference between a scholarly article and popular magazines, and trade or practitioner journals. If you do not, use the video and handout on this guide to help you.
  • Use a database limit feature that selects "peer-reviewed" or "scholarly" articles.

3. I cannot find enough on my topic.

  • Try synonyms or broader terms (ex., "Climate change" for "global warming").
  • Check your search terms and generate some other keywords to use. Write these down.
  • When you find a source that you really like, make note of the keywords or subject terms (sometimes called descriptors) that are used.
  • Be sure that you are using 3-4 keywords, not a long string of words to search.


Consider the larger context of your Professional Discourse Community. Find yours below and watch the short video from one of our Wayne State University Subject Specialist Librarians to understand how to find resources about the communicative practices of your discourse community.

Are you looking at Social Work, Education, Anthropology, Psychology, Political Science - these topics and others that look at studying human society and/or the role of human relationships would fall under Social Sciences.

Are you a pre-med student? You will need to think about future, and the discourse community in Medicine, Health and Physical Sciences you'd like to engage with, such as neuroscience, pediatrics, cardiology, chemistry, biology and others. This discourse community also includes Nursing, Kinesiology, Sports Medicine.

Are you interested in the fine or performing arts, music, film studies or film production? Then the Humanities is your broad discourse community.

Global Supply Chain Management, Accounting, Management, Marketing? These all fall under Business.


Additional special resources for discovering discourse communities

Discourse Communities: Participatory Mechanisms

Your first step is to try find a professional organization with which your discourse community engages.

For example, you might be a Marketing major in the business school, so you'll need to find a professional organization for people who engage in marketing as a profession. The easiest way to do this is a Google search for professional association "your profession"

For example: Professional association marketing

When you find a professional association website, explore it thoroughly. You can find answers to many of the questions you may have about your discourse community within the site.

Watch this video to discover how to use a professional association website to mine information:

You may want to start with online blogs and social media to understand the current conversations within a discipline. You can then use the information to find relevant articles and authoritative scholars.

Try some of these:

Science & Medicine: PLOS Blogs Breakthrough research in science and medicine.

Union of Concerned Scientists Links current scientific findings with the development of public policy. Great for food and agriculture, disaster preparedness, environmental science, nuclear energy and more.

The Interactivity Foundation Public policy discussions from a social science perspective.

Twitter Twitter is a great place to find conversations about professions and issues. Try searching general topics like "public health policy" or the twitter feeds from professional associations such as SAEDetroit (Society of Automotive Engineers Detroit)

Discourse Communities: Written Genres

Watch this video to learn about finding Scholarly Journals and Practitioner Journals, written genres in your discourse community.

Consider the following about the articles, scholarly journals and practitioner publications you find...

Who produced the information? Is the author a researcher, faculty, practitioner, industry analyst, government agency, paid writer? Who is the publisher - a professional organization, private publisher, industry group? Does this impact the way the information is presented? Does it appear certain voices privileged and given more authority than others?

What is the purpose of the information? To inform, disseminate research findings, introduce an idea, highlight a controversy or debate in the field, etc.

Who has access to this information? Does it require a subscription ( and therefore is only available through paid membership or a library subscription), or is it freely available on the web? What does this access say about the discourse community?