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Information Literacy: 07. Peer-Review

Strategies used to incorporate research skills for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Management.

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)

Anatomy of a Scientific Scholarly Article

Scholarly articles are sometimes difficult and long to read.  However, once you understand the structure of a scholarly article, you can scan the article for the info you need. 

Check out the video below for tips on how to skim a scholarly article.  This video is presented by the University of California Irvine's Science Library.

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 (also called 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.

Characteristics of Peer-Review

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How do I Know if a Journal is Peer-Reviewed?

Most databases often indicate whether a journal is peer-reviewed. Some databases may even offer a way to limit results to only peer-reviewed materials. Within Academic Search Premier, for example, a search within the Publications provide info about the journal, including if it is peer-reviewed. 

Another way is to check the library's catalog, which will indicate whether a journal is peer-reviewed (example below). Search for the journal name, and under the name of the journal it will indicate if it is peer-reviewed.Catalog example of a Peer-reviewed journal

Another way is to visit the journal or publisher's web site. Publishers usually indicate if a journal is peer-reviewed. 

Just because a journal is deemed peer-reviewed does not mean that every article within that journal is peer-reviewed.  For example, book reviews, editorials, and some other sections of a journal do not qualify as peer-reviewed.