What's so great about peer review?
Peer reviewed articles are often considered the most reliable and reputable sources in that field of study. Peer reviewed articles have undergone review (hence the "peer-review") by fellow experts in that field, as well as an editorial review process. The purpose of this is to ensure that, as much as possible, the finished product meets the standards of the field.
Peer reviewed publications are one of the main ways researchers communicate with each other.
Most library databases have features to help you discover articles from scholarly journals. Most articles from scholarly journals have gone through the peer review process. Many scholarly journals will also publish book reviews or start off with an editorial, which are not peer reviewed - so don't be tricked!
So that means I can turn my brain off, right?
Nope! You still need to engage with what you find. Are there additional scholarly sources with research that supports the source you've found, or have you encountered an outlier in the research? Have others been able to replicate the results of the research? Is the information old and outdated? Was this study on toothpaste (for example) funded by Colgate?
You're engaging with the research - ultimately, you decide what belongs in your project, and what doesn't. You get to decide if a source is relevant or not. It's a lot of responsibility - but it's a lot of authority, too.
(Source: Peabody Library)
When looking for articles to use in your assignment, you should realize that there is a difference between "popular" and "scholarly" articles.
Popular sources, such as newspapers and magazines, are written by journalists or others for general readers (for example, Time, Rolling Stone, and National Geographic).
Scholarly sources are written for the academic community, including experts and students, on topics that are typically footnoted and based on research (for example, American Literature or New England Review). Scholarly journals are sometimes referred to as "peer-reviewed," "refereed" or "academic."
How do you find scholarly or "peer-reviewed" journal articles?
The option to select scholarly or peer-reviewed articles is typically available on the search page of each database. Just check the box or select the option. You can also search Ulrich's Periodical Directory (link provided below) to see if the journal is Refereed / Peer-reviewed.
Popular Sources (Magazines & Newspapers)
Inform and entertain the general public.
Scholarly or Academic Sources (Journals & Scholarly Books)
Disseminate research and academic discussion among professionals in a discipline.
Neither scholarly or popular sources, but could be a combination of both. Allows practitioners in specific industries to share market and production information that improves their businesses.
(Source: NCSU Libraries)
What might you find in a scholarly article?
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License. | Details and Exceptions