Peer review is the process by which an article is screened and evaluated by a panel of experts before it is published.
The reviewers will evaluate the article for:
Peer-reviewed journals are also known as refereed or juried journals.
Peer-reviewed journals do contain some information that is itself not refereed, such as editorials, opinions, letters, and book reviews. So, you need to consider whether the individual article or essay has been reviewed and approved by other scholars.
Many databases have an option for limiting to peer-reviewed journals. Check the limit options on the advanced search screen of a database to see if you can limit your search to articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
Look for options such as
The Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection and SocINDEX with Full Text databases each has a publications section in which you can look up a journal title. The last field in the description of a journal tells you if it is peer reviewed or not. To do this:
If a journal is not listed in either of those two databases, try these options:
It helps ensures that published articles are of high quality and that new knowledge is being created.
As a student, you can be confident that you are using authoritative sources.
This page has been adapted from the "Understand Peer Review" guide created by the library staff of Red Deer College (RDC) in Alberta, Canada.
We appreciate receiving permission from the RDC librarians to use and adapt their guide.