Answered By: Gorgas Information Services
Last Updated: Dec 01, 2022     Views: 4814

What are peer reviewed articles?

A peer reviewed journal article is one that has been checked over by a group of experts prior to publication. This type of article, also sometimes called a scholarly article, will meet the following criteria:

  • written by an expert with credentials appropriate to their field
  • has citations and references
  • based in research, not opinion
  • written in a formal or technical style.

After an author submits an article to a journal, the editor sends the article out for review by other people with expertise in the same subject area (that is, peers). It is both a quality check as well as a determination of fitness for that particular publication.

During the peer review process, the article is assessed for:

  • originality
  • the importance of the research question or problem
  • strengths and weaknesses of the methods (eg. study design, data collection, literature search)
  • overall cohesiveness
  • and usefulness of tables and figures.

Reviewers may suggest edits or raise additional questions that need to be addressed prior to publication. They can also reject an article.

Journals that publish peer-reviewed articles are intended for an audience of fellow experts and researchers in the same area of study, and are often published by scholarly organizations sponsored by universities and professional organizations.

How do I find them?

Scout Search

You can use use Scout to find articles from peer reviewed journals. First, search for your topic, then use the limiters on the left side of the page to narrow your results by selecting Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.

Databases

You can also go directly to the Libraries' 500+ databases for easy access to scholarly material. Some general, multi-disciplinary resources you may want to start with are:

While searching, keep an eye out for limiters or check boxes that say scholarly, academic, or peer reviewed.

If you find a source and want to check whether or not it's peer-reviewed, use Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory to check (Ulrich's uses the term "refereed" alongside peer-reviewed).

If you aren't finding what you need or need help determining if a journal is peer reviewed, please let us know. We're happy to help.

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