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Before we get into what peer review is, make sure it’s required for your assignment. Peer review is also referred to as scholarly articles, juried articles and refereed articles. Double-check with your professor, especially if they are asking for a scholarly article, if the article has to come from a peer-reviewed journal. An article can be “scholarly” without having to pass through the peer review process.
If you just need a scholarly article but need help finding one, click here for a tutorial on that topic [link to scholarly, professional, and popular press tutorial]
This tutorial will cover what the peer review process is, some examples of articles that are NOT peer reviewed, but that can be misleading, and where to find peer review articles and how to check if an article is peer reviewed.
The Peer Review Process
Peer Review is a process that journals use to ensure the highest quality articles are published. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, before it is even published, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field (the author's peers). The peer experts look for mistakes, suggest the author make changes to the article, and may even recommend that an article not be published at all.
The peer review process is important because each article is vetted not only by journal editors but by other scholars who are familiar with the subject.
Other articles can be equally valid in that they provide excellent scholarship, have strong methods and reliability, and provide innovative ideas or, practical advice for professionals. None-the-less, if you are required to use a peer reviewed article for your assignment, these publications are not appropriate.
It IS confusing. Here are a couple of things that can throw students off:
After you perform a basic search notice the box you can check marked “Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals”. This will guarantee that you will pull up a list of peer reviewed articles.
JSTOR database provides access to scholarly journals, many of which are peer reviewed
How do I know if a journal is peer reviewed?
So you already have an article you want to use but aren’t sure if it is from a peer review journal. There is no sure-fire way to get the information but often it is part of the journal’s website. Look under “About” or “Submissions” and scan for the words “peer” and “refereed”.
If you are still having trouble finding a peer review article on your topic, visit the Reference Desk in the Commons or IM with a librarians using Ask A Librarian