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Japanese studies: Databases and theses

Guide to resources for students of Japanese language and culture

Databases

Finding articles in English

Finding articles in Japanese

Database instructions

What are academic sources?

In researching for essays and other academic assignment tasks, you will usually be looking for relevant information in academic sources. This section explains what an academic source is, and how to identify one, as well as the related concept of peer review.

Academic (or scholarly)

The quality of a work of writing which seeks to clarify, explain and extend concepts belonging to the topic and discipline. An equivalent term is “scholarly”.  Academic works include: journal articles, monographs, books of edited readings, conference papers, working papers and theses.

Peer reviewed (or refereed) articles

Your lecturers will often require that in assignments you use information from academic journal articles that are peer reviewed (an alternative term is “refereed”).  Peer review is a formal quality control process whereby a scholarly article submitted to a journal is evaluated by several recognised experts in that discipline. These “referees” judge whether it makes a sufficient contribution to knowledge in the discipline and is of a sufficient standard to justify publication. Academic book manuscripts and many conference papers are also commonly peer reviewed. 

Some journal databases may allow you to limit your search to just peer reviewed articles.  If you are unsure whether a particular journal is peer-reviewed/refereed, check the database, Ulrichsweb.com or ask the Library.

Note: Depending on the discipline, there can be many published scholarly and academic journals and conference papers that are not peer-reviewed,  often due to the typically lengthy process involved.

Examples of non-academic works

Articles from these publications, or with the following characteristics, are often NOT academic:

  • newspapers
  • magazines and trade journals
  • newsletters
  • journals published weekly or more frequently (although significant exceptions include Nature and Science)
  • very short articles (eg one or two pages)
  • articles that have no bibliography (a prominent exception is Harvard Business Review)

BUT, there are no absolute rules! Exercise critical judgement.  It is often appropriate and necessary to also refer to non-academic publications in an assignment. Be guided by the set requirements for the particular assignment.  If in doubt about the suitability of a particular article for an assignment task, ask your lecturer.

 

More databases

National Library of Australia

National Library of Australia's electronic licenced resource items can be accessed offsite by logging in with your National Library card details, and you can use these following Japanese databases. In order to access these databases, get a library card.

eResources home

Japan Knowledge Plus NRK

Reference tool portal on Japan. It contains a wide variety of encyclopaedias and dictionaries, including both historical and contemporary sources. Dictionaries on languages.

Asahi Shimbun - Kikuzo II visual for libraries

A newspaper database for Asahi Shinbun, one of the major newspapers in Japan. It covers from the first issue in 1879 to the current issue. It also includes articles from the weekly magazines Aera, Shukan Asahi, and from the annual new-word encyclopaedia Chiezo for recent years.

Bungei Kurabu

A Japanese literary and historical journal published from 1895-1912 by Hakubunkan. Contains articles on Japanese performing arts, cultural history and literature. The site provides full text and images of all issues, and also searchable access (although not full text) to the journals 'Taiyo' and 'Daiichi koto gakko koyukai zasshi'.

Theses

Theses from Japan

Japanese Institutional Repositories Online (JAIRO), enables the search for theses among other document types across 84 institutional repositories in Japan.

Doctoral dissertation database (The University of Tokyo)

Japanese doctoral dissertation database (collected by Nagoya University)

Other theses databases

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations various countries

Proquest Dissertations & Theses (US & Canadian theses)

Index to theses in Great Britain and Ireland

Finding Monash theses

The Library receives one copy of each doctoral and masters thesis accepted by Monash University.  Theses are not available for loan, and generally only the microfiche copies are available for consultation.

To search for a specific thesis in the Library catalogue, type your keywords or author’s surname followed by 'monash thesis'. 

Electornic journals from Japan

J-Stage Database of journals published by Japanese academic societies

 

 

Checklist for identifying an academic article

The following factors are characteristic of academic articles, and especially those that are peer reviewed.

Abstract    The first page of an academic article usually includes an abstract (summary)

Length    They are usually substantial (eg  at least 8 pages)

References   Extensive reference to past research is a key feature of academic works. References are recorded in footnotes or in a reference list at the end of the article.

Author affiliations and qualifications   Does the author hold a position in a university or a recognised research organisation relevant to the discipline?  Author information, often including contact details, is usually included on the first or final page of an article. Often an article has more than one author.  In a monograph of readings there may be a separate section with brief details on the contributors.

Appearance and format    Academic articles are text based, and can include tables, figures and charts, but little other illustration or advertising. The body of the document is divided in to sections such as: Introduction; Literature Review; Methodology; Results; Discussion; Conclusion; References

Voice   Academic works use the technical  language of the particular discipline. The writer assumes some knowledge on the part of the reader.

Publisher    Is the publisher an academic publishing house, university, research organisation, professional body or other recognised authority producing research?

Recommendation   Is it a journal recommended by your lecturer, or included in the unit reading list?