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English: Literature Research

Peer-reviewed articles

What is a Peer-Reviewed Article?

A peer-reviewed article is one that has been reviewed by a body of “peers:” experts in the same field as the writer. 

They are sometimes called “refereed” and are published in peer-reviewed (sometimes called academic or scholarly) journals.

When in doubt, ask your professor as they are the experts in their fields.

How to tell if an article is peer-reviewed

Comparison of Article Types
Criteria Peer-Reviewed / Scholarly Popular / General
Length or Appearance of Source

Lengthy, in depth. Often includes tables, graphs, statistics.

Serious appearance, not heavily graphic.

Generally includes abstract and citation list.

Purpose of the articles is usually to present original research or experiments.

Shorter, overview-type articles. Popular style.

Does not usually include abstract or citation list.

Includes many advertisements aimed at a general audience.

Purpose of the articles is more to entertain.
Author or Editor

Scholars, experts.

Credentials often included (PhD, MD, MPH, etc.)

Peer reviewed, refereed or juried: critically evaluated by a knowledge panel of experts.

Reporters, staff writers.

Credentials not usually included.

Reviewed by the editorial staff, not subject experts.

Articles are sometimes unsigned.
Title Includes words like: review, journal, research, quarterly, studies, transactions, proceedings, archives. Often includes the word magazine.
Language Technical, likely to include the jargon of the field. Assumes some background knowledge from the reader. Non-technical, accessible by broad audience
Article Structure Traditional structure usually requires: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, references  No specific structure.
Audience Professors, researchers, professionals, experts, students; people who are already interested in the topic. General public, trying to attract an audience.

Photo of Journal of the American Medical Association          The Political Quarterly 

Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

The Political Quarterly

Photo of National Geographic MagazinePhoto of Time Magazine

National Geographic

Time Magazine


Last Updated: May 28, 2024 11:56 AM

Terms to Try

Try adding one of these key words to your search to find criticisms of your chosen "work:"

  • criticism
  • critiques
  • interpretation
  • readings (for books)
  • essays
  • appreciation

The type of literature, such as:

  • epic literature
  • oral traditions
  • social drama

Advanced Search Reminders

  • Use AND to combine different keywords.  
    • For example, minorities AND coaching
  • Use OR to combine synonyms or related terms 
    • race OR ethnicity OR minorit*
  • To look for a phrase use “quotation marks” around your terms:
    • “human resource management” will find those words next to each other, instead of anywhere on the page.
  • To look for variations of a word, or to look for the singular and plural, use the
    • Minor* will find minority or minorities, but it will also find anything about minor or minors.
  • Use Parentheses: separate synonyms from others.
    • (race OR ethnicity) and coaching

Did you know?

Did you know that you can search multiple EBSCO databases at the same time?

To do this, click on "Choose Databases" link above the search boxes. The database in which you are seaching will already be checked (eg. Academic Search Complete).

Using the check boxes, select:

  • Humanities Source

Once you've selected all the databases you would like to search, scroll down the screen and click OK.

At this point your screen will refresh and the name of your original database will be followed by "Show all." You are now searching multiple databases at once.


My EBSCOhost is a feature of EBSCO databases that allows you to save your searches and articles for future access. To sign up for this feature, click "Sign In to MY EBSCOhost", at the top right of the screen from any page within an EBSCOhost database.