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Library DIY

Navigating UWG library resources and research

Identify peer-reviewed articles

Peer-reviewed publications (sometimes called scholarly, academic, or refereed) have gone through a review process by experts in the field before being published. Library databases are good places to locate peer-reviewed articles, though not all sources found in those resources are peer-reviewed.

These strategies can help you determine if an article is peer-reviewed.   

Learn more about the journal your article was published in:

  • If you found the article in a database: 
    • there may be an icon on the left side of the source description that indicates the source  type (e.g., scholarly article, magazine article, scholarly book). Peer-reviewed articles are usually published in scholarly journals and sometimes in scholarly books.
    • clicking on the journal title may give you more information about the journal and the journals editorial process.
  • Google the title of the journal and locate the publisher's website for the journal. Then look for an editorial policy page or a page for authors. This page should also indicate whether articles go through a peer review process.
  • Search for the journal title in Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory. Search for the journal title and find the correct entry in the results list. (There may be multiple versions of the same journal, but there also may be two different journals with the same title). Look to the left of the title, and if you find a referee shirt icon image of a black and white striped referee shirt , the journal is peer-reviewed or refereed.

WARNING: Peer-reviewed journals publish some articles that are not peer-reviewed. For example, book reviews, theatre reviews, obituaries, and editorials are published in peer-reviewed journals but the individual article does not go through the peer-review process. You need to look at the article in the peer-reviewed journal and determine if it is an opinion-based article (like a review) or if it is a research-based article. A peer-reviewed article should be longer than just a couple of pages and should include a bibliography.

Last resort: In many databases you can limit your search to only peer-reviewed articles. (This is not ideal, since it will remove some relevant items, such as peer-reviewed book articles.) 

  • Look for a checkbox that limits a search to scholarly (peer-reviewed) articles (either on the first search page or on the results page),
  • Search in a database or journal that only contains peer-reviewed articles. (Read about the database or journal to identify the nature of its publications.)