What is a peer reviewed article?

Here are some qualities of peer-reviewed articles; however, just because an article has one more more of these does not mean that the article is automatically scholarly.

  1. Author's Credentials — Look in the footer of the first page or at the end of the article. Does it tell where the author works? Do they have a Ph.D.?
  2. Basic sections of a research paper (abstract, method, discussion, etc.)
  3. Parenthetical references — i.e. (Jones, 1993), and/or footnotes
  4. Tables, charts, or graphs — Usually show the results of a study or the methods used to calculate results.
  5. Bibliography or References list at the end of article
  6. Length — While longer does not necessarily imply scholarly or "better," short one or two page articles are not often scholarly.

How can I determine if an article I find online is peer-reviewed?

Unfortunately, it's not very easy if you only have the PDF. Asking a librarian is your best bet.

If you want to try figuring it out yourself, here is what you need to do:

  1. Use the Journals and Newspaper Listing.
  2. Look up the journal title to find the journal's location.
  3. Find a database that contains the article full text and follow the link.
  4. Search for your article by Title with "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed)" checked. If your article comes up, it is peer-reviewed.

Search for Peer-Reviewed Articles

Many databases include options to limit your search to Peer-reviewed, scholarly or academic journals. is one of the best places to start if you are not sure what database to use. It covers all academic areas and has a box you can check to limit to peer-reviewed articles. (Look under “limit your results”.)



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