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ELISE | Informing your studies: Peer-reviewed literature


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To identify if a journal is peer-reviewed search for the title in Ulrichsweb global serials directory. The term Refereed in the entry for the journal indicates that the journal is peer-reviewed.

What is peer-reviewed literature

Journal articles that are peer-reviewed have been assessed by the author’s peers, an editorial board of subject specialists in a particular discipline. They review, and accept or reject articles that have been submitted for publication based on the validity and scholarship of the article.

This scrutiny by the author's peers ensures that high standards of research and scholarship are maintained. The peer-review process also helps build a reliable body of knowledge.

Peer-reviewed articles:

  • present more highly regarded and authoritative information
  • include bibliographies that provide you with further reading of a similar quality and standard
  • focus on original academic research
  • are also called refereed articles

Identifiying peer-reviewed literature

Some databases allow you to limit a search to peer-reviewed articles only.

Journals usually indicate that they are peer-reviewed in the information found either at the front or back of each journal issue, or on the journal website. They may list the names of the reviewers or outline the review process in the instructions for authors.

Ulrichsweb is a directory which can identify whether a journal is peer reviewed. Access it via the Databases link on the Library Homepage or searching the Library collection

Scholarly or popular?

Scholarly journals Popular magazines
  • written for an academic audience                 
  • generally, but not always peer-reviewed
  • more scholarly or technical language
  • comprehensive citations and references               
  • research articles generally longer
  • often published by a society or institute
  • aimed at a general audience
  • simple, everyday language
  • articles and information are usually brief
  • generally don't include bibliographies
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