Finding peer-reviewed journal articles
A peer-reviewed journal is one in which the articles have been examined, prior to publication, by experts in the article's field of study before it is published. Peer-reviewed publications (often titled journal, review or research) are produced specifically for academics, scholars and professionals, unlike popular magazines found in newsagents and supermarkets.
The differences are:
|Editorial||Features a listing of an editorial board||No editorial board listing|
|Appearance||Text with charts and illustrations||Glossy with many advertisements|
|Author||Always identified and qualifications cited||Often not identified, e.g. staff or freelance reporter|
|Content||Often original findings or theory on specific research; source references always cited||Usually informal in nature, without specifying sources|
|Purpose||To enhance the field of research||To entertain, inform, express a view, to sell a product|
|Terminology||Specialised, assuming prior knowledge||Simple, assuming no prior knowledge|
How do I know if a journal article is peer-reviewed?
When searching some databases and QuickSearch, you can specify that the results only include 'peer-reviewed' journals.
Scholarly or peer-reviewed articles usually contain section headings like these:
- Abstract and keywords - the abstract and keywords may be added by an editor or publisher.
- Introduction and statement of the problem - identifies the need for the work, and the research question.
- Review of the literature - the literature review should identify the major works of other researchers and identify theories and lines of thought.
- Methodology - explains the methods so others can replicate the study.
- Data collection - the data collection and analysis discuss the particular work being reported.
- Analysis - examines the data by qualitative or quantitative means, states whether the research question or hypothesis was proven or disproved.
- Conclusions and recommendations - the final section provides a theory about the results, identifies any obvious flaws in the work, and provides suggestions for follow-up research.
- References - includes a comprehensive list of references.
Use Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory to check whether a journal is peer-reviewed.