Scholarly articles are often peer reviewed, whereas editorials and book reviews normally do not go through the peer review process. Primary research articles almost always do. You may want to know whether an article has been peer reviewed, and there are ways to find out. Although people often use the terms scholarly and peer reviewed interchangeably, they are not one and the same. Many scholarly articles are peer reviewed, but some are not. Read on to find out how to know if an article is peer reviewed.
Look for the Article in Ulrich’s to See If it Is Peer Reviewed
Ulrich’s Periodical Directory can tell you if an article is peer reviewed. You will need to know the journal title, and you will search for it first. If the journal is peer reviewed, it will show a black jersey icon next to the title. Keep in mind that all articles within a peer reviewed journal are not necessarily peer reviewed, but you will need to know if the source of the article is peer reviewed and go from there. This is a good starting point in the process.
Do a Database Search
You can do a database search and limit it to peer-reviewed journals only. Not all databases will allow you to do this, but some, such as Academic Search Complete, have this as a feature on the initial search screen. You can choose boxes to limit your search, and peer review is an option. Other databases may require that you go to an advanced or expert search, but they will also have this filter. Just keep in mind that other databases will not have this choice at all.
Examine the Publication
If you only have online access to the periodical, this is a less reliable method. However, when you can see the periodical in person, it can be very reliable. You will want to try to locate the journal online or in a physical library. Look for the most current completed year’s issues. Try to find the masthead of the publication, which might be a box at the end that contains the editors of the journal, the publisher, and other information. The journal will include that it is peer reviewed if it is most of the time.
You can also look to find out the process for submitting publications. If they request three copies of the article, they likely use peer review. Check the language of the article. Is it scholarly with technical terminology? Does it contain an abstract followed by a literature review, methodology, results, a conclusion, and references? Check to see if the article is written by a researcher in a field. Look to see if there is advertising in the journal. Finally, you will want to look for citations and a bibliography. If the journal contains all of this information, it is almost certain to be peer reviewed.
Peer reviewed articles are usually written by experts and reviewed by several other experts in the field before the article is published. This ensures that the article is high quality. They want to publish articles that are scientifically valid and well researched. The reviewers normally do not know whose work they are reviewing, so it is an unbiased assessment of the article.
If you have searched to find out if an article is peer reviewed and you are using it as a source for a paper in a class, you can always speak to your professor. These articles are great sources because they are based on the merits of the research not on the reputation of the author. Once you have a little bit of experience in locating articles that are peer reviewed and know what you are looking for, the process becomes a lot easier to spot these peer reviewed articles. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to ask for help.