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Health and Disease in Africa: Articles

Emphasizing social science and historical resources rather than clinical research.

What is a Scholarly Journal?

Many professors require students to use scholarly journal articles as resources when writing research papers.

  • Scholarly journals review submitted articles before they are published.
  • Articles are written by scholars for scholars.
  • A scholarly journal article typically has information about authors, an abstract of the article, footnotes/bibliography and perhaps extensive statistics or charts.
  • Authors often provide at least a brief review of the literature on the subject.

Many databases allow you to restrict your searches to scholarly journals, sometimes called "refereed" journals.

Peabody Library of Vanderbilt University has produced a helpful video explaining how to identify a scholarly journal article.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a search tool from Google, separate from its main search engine, with its own URL ( Its purpose (says Google) is “to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research.”

Google Scholar is an excellent resource BUT it does not always connect to Emory resources. A book or journal article may be in the library. Never purchase purchase an item without checking. Remember you can also borrow items from other libraries for free.

Check out a video on using Google Scholar.

Even more info: what's included, search tips, getting metrics, etc.

Early AIDS: Sample Scholarly Article


"The early spread and epidemic ignition of HIV-1 in human populations," ScienceVol. 346 no. 6205 pp. 56 -61.

Thirty years after the discovery of HIV-1, the early transmission, dissemination, and establishment of the virus in human populations remain unclear. Using statistical approaches applied to HIV-1 sequence data from central Africa, we show that from the 1920s Kinshasa (in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo) was the focus of early transmission and the source of pre-1960 pandemic viruses elsewhere. Location and dating estimates were validated using the earliest HIV-1 archival sample, also from Kinshasa. The epidemic histories of HIV-1 group M and nonpandemic group O were similar until ~1960, after which group M underwent an epidemiological transition and outpaced regional population growth. Our results reconstruct the early dynamics of HIV-1 and emphasize the role of social changes and transport networks in the establishment of this virus in human populations. --Abstract


PubMed, maintained by the National Library of Medicine, is the major index for medical literature. You can search a variety of ways including key words or using MeSH (medical) subject terms. Remember to add the word "Africa" or the name of individual countries to your search.

If you are interested in the historical aspects of a disease or topic you can add "history" to the search, e.g. malaria/history. A possible search might be "malaria/history and Africa". You could also do a more general search and combine with MeSH terms such as

More information on restricting PubMed searches to the history of medicine here.

AnthropologyPlus is the major index of the anthropology journals which also cover health and medical topics.

Bioline International provides open access to peer reviewed bioscience/medical journals published in developing countries, including a number from Africa. Many of these are also covered in PubMed above.

Covers the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada, which are covered in America: History and Life). Historical Abstracts includes information on articles indexed since 1970, and on books and dissertations from 1979. Important source for articles on history of disease published in historical journals.

JSTOR (Emory only)
This is an important source for the full text of back runs (no current issues) for major journals including African Affairs and Journal of African History. You can search the full text or by author, subject, e

PROJECT MUSE (Emory only)
Provides access to selected scholarly journals published by major university presses. Project MUSE covers the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, and many others.

Global Health (CABI), 1973-date (Emory only) provides international coverage of communicable diseases (including HIV/AIDS), tropical and parasitic diseases, human nutrition, community and public health, and medicinal and poisonous plants.


Specialized Africa Databases

Africa Bibliography. Beginning in 2011 published by Cambridge University Press and full file searchable (Emory only)

Ref Z3503 A34

Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1984-. Annual.
Covering mainly the social sciences and humanities, this extensive annual listing of books, essays, and articles offers the latest publications in African studies (entire continent). Covers approximately 600 journals. Arrangement is geographical and by subject. Contains an author and subject index.

Africa Index Medicus (AIM) (WHO) emphasizes African-produced health literature.

Africa-Wide: NiPAD (Emory only)
Includes numerous databases from three continents resulting in a large database of references (some with abstracts). Includes books, periodical articles, maps and musical recordings. Among the databases included are IBICUS (development information from Francophone Africa) African Studies Abstracts (and its earlier title) from 1988, and the School of Oriental and African Studies Library Catalogue: Africa from 1989.

African Studies Abstracts Online(ASA)
Produced by the African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands, each quarterly issue contains about 450 abstracts of collective volumes, journal articles and chapters from edited works, arranged geographically. Some 240 journals are regularly scanned. Almost half of these are published in Africa. .


AllAfrica Global Media is the largest electronic distributor of African news and information worldwide. Good source for current news on health issues in Africa from an African perspective. Click here for more information on news sources related to Africa




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