What is a peer-reviewed article and how do I find one?
A peer-reviewed article is:
- An article that has been reviewed by a group of experts in the field, somtimes called a board of editors.
- Refereed is another term for peer-reviewed.
To determine if an article is scholarly or peer-reviewed, see below for a quick checklist.
In many of our databases you can limit your searches to just peer-reviewed/refereed journals using a checkbox or other option on the search screen.
Is this article peer-reviewed?
Peer-reviewed articles are usually found in scholarly journals while popular or general articles often are found in popular magazines.
|Scholarly Journals||Criteria||Popular Magazines|
||Type of source||
Lengthy, in depth. Often includes tables, graphs, statistics.
Serious appearance, not heavily graphic.
Generally includes abstract and citation list.
Advertisements aimed at the scholarly audience it serves.
Purpose of the articles is usually to present original research or experiments.
|Length and appearance of articles||
Shorter, overview-type articles. Popular style.
Glossy format. Attractive covers. Lots of photographs.
Does not usually include abstract or citation list.
Includes many advertisements aimed at a general audience.
Purpose of the articles is to entertain the reader.
Credentials always included.
Peer reviewed, refereed or juried: critically evaluated by a knowledge panel of experts.
Usually published by a scholarly or university press.
Reporters, staff writers.
Credentials not usually included.
Reviewed by the editorial staff, not subject experts.
Articles are sometimes unsigned.
Usually published by a commercial publisher.
|Includes words like: review, journal, research, quarterly, studies, transactions, proceedings, archives.||Title||Often included the word magazine|
|Technical, likely to include the jargon of the field. Assumes some background knowledge from the reader.||Language||Non-technical, accessible by broad audience|
|Traditional structure usually requires: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, references||Article structure||No specific structure.|
|Published bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.||Frequency||Published daily, weekly or monthly.|
|Professors, researchers, professionals, experts, students; people who are already interested in the topic.||Audience||General public, trying to attract an audience.|