What is peer review?
Peer-reviewed (scholarly) articles are reviewed by scholars and other experts in the field before being approved for publication. This helps to ensure the integrity of the article. Not all articles are peer-reviewed. Newspapers and popular magazines are not peer-reviewed. Also, publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education and Education Week are not peer-reviewed.
The term scholarly and peer reviewed when referencing articles are typically used synonymously in academia. However, tools like Google Scholar have watered down the term and do not limit or offer filters to limit to scholarly content. Although Google Scholar is a good search tool, you must be especially careful when using it if you need to limit your search to scholarly content. When looking at the format for scholarly articles, you'll notice that they are visibly different from articles found in magazines. Scholarly articles look similar to a research paper you might have written for one of your classes in the sense that it will have both in-text citations in a formal citation format such as APA style, and it will have a reference list at the end. If the scholarly article reports on a study conducted by the author, there are usually labeled sections within the article such as methodology, results, and/or discussion. The author(s) will always be identified in a scholarly article, and it is standard for the university that the author is affiliated with to also be identified. The scholarly article contains technical language as the articles are written by and for faculty, researchers, or scholars. Scholarly articles are typically at least five pages, but are usually even longer. In fact, they can be quite lengthy.
· Peer-review checkbox/filter/limiter: Most library databases have a checkbox for limiting search results to scholarly/peer-reviewed journals. The checkbox typically limits at the journal level rather than the article level. All of the articles in the journal will be peer reviewed, but things like editorials or book reviews may also show up. Editorials and book reviews are not peer reviewed even if they appear in a peer reviewed journal.
· Ulrichsweb: Ulrichsweb is the most comprehensive database for information about journals. Whether or not the journal is peer reviewed is one of the pieces of information you will find there. Ulrich’s uses the term refereed synonymously with peer-reviewed.
· Journal information sections: If you have access to the journal itself, check the front page of the print journal or the about section of an online journal. The area for information about author submissions may also tell you.