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Scholarly/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: Jul 15, 2024 10:27 AM