WHAT DOES "PEER-REVIEWED" OR "REFEREED" MEAN?
Peer review, also known as refereed, is a process in which experts in related fields of study review and evaluate literature before it is published. It is largely used with research journals to help ensure that published articles represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, the editors send it to other scholars in the same field (the author's peers) to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc.
Publications that don't use peer review (Time, Discover, Newsweek, U.S. News) rely on the judgement of the editors whether an article is quality material or not. They are not as reliable because these journals do not rely on solid, scientific scholarship.
Note: This is an entirely different concept from "Review Articles."
HOW DO I KNOW IF A JOURNAL IS PEER-REVIEWED?
One quick & easy way to check if a journal is peer-reviewed is to check Ulrichs, which is a resource that describes periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers). The example below shows how your results would appear & where to look for the peer-review indicator.
Often, you can tell just by looking. A scholarly journal is visibly different from magazines, but occasionally it can be hard to tell. If you want to be certain that a journal is peer-reviewed, use the Ulrich's Periodical Directory. Type the journal's title into the text box and search, and your results will provide a variety of information about the journal, including whether the journal contains articles that are peer reviewed or refereed.
TEST THESE JOURNAL TITLES IN ULRICHS
- American Journal of Education (issn: 0195-6674)
- Nature (issn: 0028-0836)
- Science (issn: 0036-8075)
- Women's Art Journal (issn: 0270-7993)
You might find that resources provided by your library can be really helpful, and you can access many of these resources online through your library's website.
Don't forget that our librarians are excellent resources!