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Find Articles: How to Find Scholarly / Peer-Reviewed Articles

What is peer review?

What does "peer reviewed" mean?

Thumbnail for peer-review handout

If an article is peer reviewed, it was reviewed by scholars who are experts in related academic or professional fields before it was published. Those scholars assessed the quality of the article's research, as well as its overall contribution to the literature in their field. 

When we talk about peer-reviewed journals, we're referring to journals that use a peer-review process.

Related terms you might hear include: 

  • Academic: Intended for academic use, or an academic audience. 
  • Scholarly: Intended for scholarly use, or a scholarly audience. 
  • Refereed: Refers to a specific kind of peer-review process. 

Learn more:  Peer-Review Guide

Is this article peer-reviewed?

How do I verify that a journal is peer-reviewed?
You can verify whether a journal is peer-reviewed or not using Ulrichsweb or Serials Directory. Click on the tabs above for step-by-step instructions.
 

Thumbnail for checklist file Remember! In addition to research articles, sometimes journals that use a peer review process will also publish material that wasn't reviewed, such as editorial letters, news items, or book reviews. If you're not sure, you can use this checklist to help you identify scholarly, research-based articles.

Here's how you can check the peer-review status of a journal using Ulrichsweb

  1. Type the name of the journal into the search box, and click the green search button. You'll need to use the journal's full name, not an abbreviation.
  2. Locate the journal on the results list. You might see multiple entries for the same title. This is because Ulrichsweb lists print, digital, and international editions separately.
  3. Look for a black-and-white "referee shirt" logo () next to the title. This means that it's refereed (peer-reviewed). 
     

Here's how you can check the peer-review status of a journal using Serials Directory

  1. Type the name of the journal into the search box, and click the green search button. You'll need to use the journal's full name, not an abbreviation.
  2. Locate the journal on the results list. 
  3. Scroll down to the "peer reviewed" heading. If peer-review status isn't listed at all, you can assume that it isn't peer-reviewed.
     

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Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

Identify Scholarly vs Popular Articles
Tell the difference between articles authored by a scholar from articles written by a journalist. (2:37)

Finding Peer-Reviewed Articles

How do I find peer-reviewed articles?

Most article databases allow you to filter results by peer-review.  Look for the Peer-Review check box, tab, or button.