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How do I find peer reviewed articles/journals?: Home

A little heads up

This guide is a quick cheat sheet on how to find just peer-reviewed sources. This is a common question for us since some professors will require that you only use peer-reviewed sources for certain assignments. If you just need scholarly sources in general (if they don't have to specifically be peer-reviewed), try looking at our subject research guides for research tips; you can also find out how to ask a librarian for help.

What is peer review?

Many scholarly journals use a process of peer review prior to publishing an article, whereby other scholars in the author's field or specialty critically assess a draft of the article. Peer-reviewed journals (also called refereed journals) are scholarly journals that only publish articles that have passed through this review process. The review process helps ensure that the published articles reflect solid scholarship in their fields.  More

To summarize:

Not all scholarly journals (and their articles) are peer-reviewed, but all peer-reviewed journals (and their articles) are scholarly.

How do I find peer-reviewed sources?

Catalog filter for peer-reviewYou have a few options:

1) Do a search in the library catalog. This will search everything we have (books, scholarly articles, non-scholarly articles, DVDs, etc). On the left of your search results, you will see a checkbox to filter to just peer-reviewed articles. This filter does not have a 100% accuracy rate, but it works just to get you started as you begin honing in on what you want. See the screenshot to the right for an example.

2)  Many databases (like ProQuest Research Library) have a peer-reviewed filter that often works more effectively than the catalog's filter. Some databases will have a filter with a name like "Scholarly journals," but if you are under directions to only use peer-reviewed sources, be aware that not all scholarly articles are peer-reviewed.

3) If you have already found an article or a journal and you want a definitive, "yes-or-no" answer about whether it is peer-reviewed, you can use the database Ulrich's. This database doesn't contain articles or images like most of our other databases. Instead, it just contains information about all of the major periodicals (journals, newspapers, magazines) from around the world. You can use it to look up information about a journal, like what subject it focuses on, and whether it's ever gone by a different name. It also tells you whether something is refereed (meaning peer-reviewed) by using a striped referee icon. If you see that icon, this means that your journal is peer-reviewed (see below screenshot: "Animation Magazine" does not have a referee icon, so it is not peer-reviewed; "Animation Studies" does have the icon, circled red, and so it is peer-reviewed).

Ulrichs screenshot

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Barret Havens
Woodbury University
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