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Peer-Reviewed Articles: An Introduction

What is a peer-reviewed article?

A peer-reviewed, or refereed, article is one that has been critiqued by scholars in the field who consider it worthy of publication.  This evaluation process ensures quality control.

Common characteristics of most peer-reviewed articles include:

  • evaluation by the journal's editor, editorial board, or advisory panel of scholars
  • formal appearance
  • graphs, tables, and/or diagrams
  • abstract that summarizes the research discussed in the article
  • specialized language or discipline-specific jargon
  • narrow or subject-specific focus
  • original research, experimentation, and/or in-depth study
  • little or no advertising

How do I find peer-reviewed articles?

To find peer-reviewed articles:

  • Search article databases to which the library subscribes.  When searching EbscoHost or ProQuest, apply a "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" filter to your search results.  When searching JSTOR or the American Chemical Society Journals Database, nearly all of your search results should be peer-reviewed.
  • Search free scholarly article databases such as Google Scholar and PubMed and use the previously discussed characteristics to assess whether their articles are peer-reviewed.
  • Search individual journals to which the library subscribes and use the previously discussed characteristics to assess whether their articles are peer-reviewed.
  • Ask a librarian for assistance.

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