What is a peer reviewed article?
- An article that has been reviewed by a group of experts in the field, sometimes called a board of editors.
- Refereed is another term for peer-reviewed.
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.
- 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.?
- Basic sections of a research paper (abstract, method, discussion, etc.)
- Parenthetical references — i.e. (Jones, 1993), and/or footnotes
- Tables, charts, or graphs — Usually show the results of a study or the methods used to calculate results.
- Bibliography or References list at the end of article
- 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:
- Use the Journals and Newspaper Listing.
- Look up the journal title to find the journal's location.
- Find a database that contains the article full text and follow the link.
- If the database is provided by EBSCOhost, scroll down to the bottom of the page and it will say "Peer-Reviewed"
- If the database is provided by JSTOR, the article is peer-reviewed.
- 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”.)