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Information Literacy: 07. Peer-Review

Strategies used to incorporate research skills for the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Management, the Pacific Northwest College of Arts, and the School of Computing and Informations Sciences.

What Does "Peer-Reviewed" or "Refereed" Mean?

Referee JerseyPeer-reviewed research has gone through a refereeing process (like a sports referee).  Through the peer-review process, a scholarly work is checked by a group of experts in the same field to make sure it meets the professional standards before it is published.  It is largely used with scholarly research journals (academic journals) to help ensure that published articles represent the best scholarship that is currently available. 

Publications that do not use peer-review, such as Time, Discover, Newsweek, and U.S. News, rely on the judgment of the editors as to whether an article is quality material or not. Articles are not as rigorously reviewed because these publications do not rely on solid, scientific scholarship.

Peer-Review Video

Peer-Review in Three Minutes
This three minute video describes and discusses the importance of peer-review and its process.

(NCSU video, 3:15 minutes)

Characteristics of Peer-Review


Finding Peer-Reviewed Articles

How do I know if a journal is peer-reviewed?

  • Visit the journal or publisher's website. Publishers will indicate if a journal is peer-reviewed.

  • Limit your results to peer-review. Most databases, including the library catalog, have an option to limit results to peer-review. If they don't, try adding "peer-review" as a search term.
  • Search the library's catalog for the journal. The catalog results should indicated whether a journal is peer-reviewed under the journal's name. It there is no indication, then it is not peer-reviewed. Catalog example of a Peer-reviewed journal
  • Ebsco databases indicate whether an article is peer-reviewed (results can be limited to peer-review). If you want to make sure, click Publications within Ebsco databases such as Academic Search Complete and search for the journal. Info will be provided about the journal, including if it is peer-reviewed. 
  • ALSO, just because a journal is deemed peer-reviewed does not mean every article in the journal is peer-reviewed.  Book reviews, editorials, and other sections of a journal do not qualify as peer-reviewed. 
Willamette University

Willamette University Libraries

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Pacific Northwest College of Art Library
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