Research assignments often require that you include information from “peer-reviewed” articles. In scholarly publishing, peer-review is the process by which scholars in the same field critically evaluate one another’s work before it is published in an academic journal. Peer-review is a crucial process because it ensures a high level of scholarship for a publication and improves the quality of an author’s manuscript. Refereed is another term for peer-reviewed.
NOTE: Not all content in an academic journal is subject to peer-review. For example, editorials and book reviews do not go through the peer-review process, but primary (i.e., original) research articles do.
To get a better sense of how the peer-review process works, watch the video below.
How do I know if an article is peer-reviewed?
There are several methods you can use to identify peer-reviewed articles.
Method #1: Article Elements
- Author(s) credentials (e.g, PhD) and/or affiliation (e.g., university)
- Specialized and formal language
- Reference list or bibliography
Method #2: Journal Websites
One of the best places to find out if a journal is peer-reviewed is the journal’s website. If you already know the name of the journal, type the title “in quotes” in Google’s search bar to procure the journal’s homepage. The homepage or the “About” page should immediately confirm whether the journal in question is peer-reviewed.
Below is an example from the Quality in Primary Care website. The “About the Journal” section mentions that the journal is peer-reviewed in the opening sentence.
Method #3: Databases
Most online databases will contain a directory of all the journals that are indexed, which includes publication information for each journal.
In EBSCO CINAHL, navigate to the Publications button in the top, left-hand corner of the home menu. There, you can search for journals by title. Each journal’s record will indicate whether that journal is peer-reviewed.
How can I find peer-reviewed articles?
In Novanet, you can refine your search results using the facets on the left-hand side of the screen. The Peer-reviewed Journals facet is located under the Availability heading.
In the EBSCO CINAHL database, you can also limit your search results by clicking the Peer Reviewed option on the advanced search page.