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PRST 3995: Interdisciplinary Research and Project Solving: Finding Peer Reviewed Articles

Scholarly Sources and Peer Review: A Note

Keep in mind: The adjectives scholarly, academic and peer reviewed are often used as synonyms. In its strictest sense, peer review is a process that may or may not be applied to a scholarly or academic journal article. Thus, a peer reviewed article is scholarly or academic in nature, but an article that is scholarly or academic in nature may not have undergone peer review. Many scholarly journal articles do undergo peer review, hence the tendency to use the terms interchangeably. In most cases, if a library database tags an article as scholarly or academic, the article is probably also peer reviewed. If you feel the need to double check, you can ask a librarian for help, or see the other suggestions on this page.

To further confuse the matter, certain books and book chapters can be considered scholarly sources, depending upon the author, content and intended audience (here's a scholarly humanities book and a scholarly science book). Peer review, however, is a process only applied to journal articles and is not applied to books and book chapters.

For a given assignment, always check with your professor if you are unsure about the types of outside information sources that are acceptable for use. 

Peer Review in Three Minutes

Finding the Full Text

Look for one of these icons in the article record: 
pdf icon
html icon
If you don't see one of those, click this:

to find links to the article in another database or to see if the library has the article in print.

If the library does not have a copy, you can order it for free through Interlibrary Loan.

If you have a citation that did not come from a library database, try using our JEWL Search or Google Scholar, which may provide you with a link to a library subscription offering.

How to Find Scholarly Peer Reviewed Articles

Scholarly peer reviewed articles are included in many library databases. Use a research guide to find the best database for your subject or use the Scholarly Articles tab in the JEWL search box on the library homepage. You can also use the library's Databases A-Z tool to find a list of library databases by subject or discipline. Here is a sample search using the JEWL Search Scholarly Articles tab on the library home page

Please note:  There are many academic and scholarly journals that do not contain peer-reviewed articles.  Using the scholarly articles filter will give you a list of academic journal articles that are peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed.  You must do the extra step of researching your specific journal to determine if it's peer-reviewed. 

1. Enter your keywords / topics. 

2.  On the search results page, use the filters in the left column under the "Limit To" menu:

  • Select "Scholarly/Peer Reviewed/Academic"
  • Select "Online (Full Text)" to view results from the online databases with full-text links to the article PDFs.  
  • Select "Online + Print" to view results from both the online databases and the print journals owned by the library. 
  • An optional "Publication Date" limiter is also available.


How to Verify a Journal Includes Peer-Reviewed Articles

How do you know if an article is from a peer-reviewed academic journal or an academic journal that doesn't include peer-reviewed articles? Two options: (1) search for the journal title in Ulrichsweb database or (2) check the journal publisher's website for a detailed description of the journal.

Search the title of the journal (not the article) and look at the symbols beside the title. If there is a "refereed" symbol , then the journal is peer-reviewed. Refereed is a synonym for peer-reviewed.