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Articles: Finding (and Identifying) Peer-Reviewed Articles: What is Peer Review?

Peer Review in 3 Minutes

What is "Peer-Review"?

What are they?

Scholarly articles are papers that describe a research study. 

Why are scholarly articles useful?

They report original research projects that have been reviewed by other experts before they are accepted for publication, so you can reasonably be assured that they contain valid information. 

How do you identify scholarly or peer-reviewed articles?

  • They are usually fairly lengthy - most likely at least 7-10 pages
  • The authors and their credentials should be identified, at least the company or university where the author is employed
  • There is usually a list of References or Works Cited at the end of the paper, listing the sources that the authors used in their research

How do you find them? 

Some of the library's databases contain scholarly articles, either exclusively or in combination with other types of articles. 

Google Scholar is another option for searching for scholarly articles. 

Know the Difference Between Scholarly and Popular Journals/Magazines

Peer reviewed articles are found in scholarly journals.  The checklist below can help you determine if what you are looking at is peer reviewed or scholarly.

  • Both kinds of journals and magazines can be useful sources of information.
  • Popular magazines and newspapers are good for overviews, recent news, first-person accounts, and opinions about a topic.
  • Scholarly journals, often called scientific or peer-reviewed journals, are good sources of actual studies or research conducted about a particular topic. They go through a process of review by experts, so the information is usually highly reliable.


Scholarly Journals Popular Sources
Author is an expert on the specific topic of the article Author is usually a journalists who might or might not have particular expertise in the topic
Articles are "peer-reviewed" or evaluated by experts in the field Reviewed by an editor and fact checker.
A list of references or citations appears at the end of the article References usually aren't formally cited
Goal is to present results of research Goal may be to inform, entertain, or persuade
Examples: Journal of the American Medical Association; Journal of American History Examples: Newsweek; Time Magazine