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Finding Peer Reviewed Sources: Is It Peer Reviewed?

How to find peer reviewed articles and monographs.

Is It Peer Reviewed?

You're looking for two combined pieces:

an article that meets the criteria of a scholarly article 

AND

a journal that contains peer reviewed articles.*

  1. If you're searching in MCPHS Smart Search or most of our databases, limit your results to peer reviewed or academic journals. 
     
  2. Once you've found a potential article, click on the title so that you can see more information about it (this is call the detailed record page).
    • You'll usually be able to read the abstract on this page.
    • Sometimes at the bottom of the page a journal subset field will indicate peer review, double blind peer review, or any other variation of peer review.  
       
  3. If it's still not clear, google to find out more about the journal. Look for aim & scope, about, journal information, editioral board, etc.  

* Or any other criteria as assigned by your professor or that meet your information need.


NOT Peer Reviewed:

  • Editorials
  • Opinion pieces
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Book Reviews

These may be great sources and very useful to you (remember to cite them if you use them!), but they're not peer reviewed.

Elements of a Peer Reviewed Article

Look for these structure elements when you're evaluating an article to confirm that it's peer reviewed:

Article Title

Usually rather lengthy, including technical terms and methodologies.

Author(s) & their Credentials

In addition to their names, you may also see authors' credentials - where they work/teach, their degrees, contact information etc. This information is included to help establish their authority.

Abstract

A brief summary of the article - often divided into the same sections as the article text. Readers use abstracts to quickly determine if the article will help meet their information needs. 

Article Text

The actual text of the article is usually divided into sections with headings: introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion and conclusion. There are frequently also charts and other visual representations of data.  

References 

You'll find in-text or footnotes throughout an academic article, and a length list of corresponding citations at the end of a scholarly article. These references connect a scholarly article to the larger field of research and demonstrate the evidence and other research that the work is based on. References are also a great place to look for additional sources on your topic.

Try the NCSU Library's interactive Anatomy of a Scholarly Article.

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