Variety of Peer Reviewed Articles

Peer Reviewed?

How do you determine whether an article qualifies as being a peer-reviewed journal article?

First, you need to be able to identify which journals are peer-reviewed. There are generally four methods for doing this

  • Limiting a database search to peer-reviewed journals only. You can do this in the Article Quick Search tab in the Library's home page. Some databases allow you to limit searches for articles to peer reviewed journals only. 
  • If you cannot limit your initial search to peer-reviewed journals, you will need to check to see if the source of an article is a peer-reviewed journal. you may want to utilize Method 3 below. 
  • Examining the publication to see if it is peer-reviewed.

If by using the first two methods you were unable to identify if a journal (and an article therein) is peer-reviewed, you may then need to examine the journal physically or look at additional pages of the journal online to determine if it is peer-reviewed. ‚ÄčThis method is not always successful with resources available only online. The following steps are suggested:

  • Locate the journal in the Library or online, then identify the most current entire year’s issues.
  • Locate the masthead of the publication. This usually consists of a box towards either the front or the end of the periodical, and contains publication information such as the editors of the journal, the publisher, the place of publication, the subscription cost and similar information.
  • Does the journal say that it is peer-reviewed? If so, you’re done! If not, move on to step d.
  • Check in and around the masthead to locate the method for submitting articles to the publication.  If you find information similar to “to submit articles, send three copies…”, the journal is probably peer-reviewed. In this case, you are inferring that the publication is then going to send the multiple copies of the article to the journal’s reviewers. This may not always be the case, so relying upon this criterion alone may prove inaccurate.
  • If you do not see this type of statement in the first issue of the journal that you look at, examine the remaining journals to see if this information is included. Sometimes publications will include this information in only a single issue a year.
  • Is it scholarly, using technical terminology? Does the article format approximate the following - abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, and references? Are the articles written by scholarly researchers in the field that the periodical pertains to? Is advertising non-existent, or kept to a minimum? Are there references listed in footnotes or bibliographies? If you answered yes to all these questions , the journal may very well be peer-reviewed. This determination would be strengthened by having met the previous criterion of a multiple-copies submission requirement. If you answered these questions no, the journal is probably not peer-reviewed.
  • Find the official web site on the internet, and check to see if it states that the journal is peer-reviewed. Be careful to use the official site (often located at the journal publisher’s web site), and, even then, information could potentially be “inaccurate.”

Adapted from "How to Recognize Peer Reviewed Journals", Angelo State University