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Peer-Reviewed Journals

Peer-reviewed journals are also called “refereed” or “juried” journals. Usually, when professors refer to the need for scholarly or academic journals, they are referring to these publications. The process of peer review means that, when an author submits a manuscript to a journal in hopes of having an article published, the editor sends the manuscript to scholars in that discipline. These individuals (peers) read and review the manuscript, offering their comments and judgement as to its value. Many manuscripts are submitted to the journal editors; fewer are selected for publication. The process of peer review enhances the quality of the refereed or juried publications.

Peer-Reviewed v. Popular Magazines :: Finding Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Peer-Reviewed v. Popular Magazines

Peer-reviewed journals are also called “refereed” or “juried” journals. Usually, when professors refer to the need for scholarly or academic journals, they are referring to these publications. The process of peer review means that, when an author submits a manuscript to a journal in hopes of having an article published, the editor sends the manuscript to scholars in that discipline. These individuals (peers) read and review the manuscript, offering their comments and judgement as to its value. Many manuscripts are submitted to the journal editors; fewer are selected for publication. The process of peer review enhances the quality of the refereed or juried publications.

Peer-reviewed journals have characteristics that distinguish them from popular magazines. There is not always a clear-cut distinction between popular magazines and journals; some publications have qualities of both. Following is a comparison of peer-reviewed journals and popular magazines.

Journal articles are written by experts in the field. Often, popular magazine articles are written by a staff writer.

Journal articles are often intended for a person with knowledge in a specific discipline: a medical journal is written for doctors, a legal journal for attorneys, etc.

The author of a journal article is always listed—usually, along with his or her qualifications or brief information about the author.

Journal articles include a list of references. This allows you to see what the sources are and to check them if you wish, providing you with other possible resources.

Scholarly journals are often published by a professional organization or society.

Often, the word “journal” appears in the title. However, this is not always a good clue: Ladies Home Journal, for instance, is a popular magazine.

Often, a journal article is preceded by an abstract, or summary of the content.

Journals do not include advertisements; popular magazines do.

Titles of articles in journals are very revealing of content, not just clever or catchy, as is often the case with popular magazines.

Scholarly journal articles often report on research; they may include theoretical assumptions, methodology, hypotheses, results, and conclusions. Popular magazines may report conclusions as factual (without including all the details and research.)

 

Finding Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Ask your professor for a list of recommended titles.

Ask the librarian to help you find a professional journal in a particular field.

Use a discipline-specific index (Education Full Text or ERIC; Criminal Justice Periodical Index; PsycInfo; Social Sciences Full Text, etc.) While this strategy will help you find peer-reviewed journal articles, you should be aware that not all citations in such indexes are from peer-reviewed journals. Some are from publications that are more “magazine-like.”

Use special features of online databases. Many online databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed journals. You need to know, however, that there is not always consensus about the status of a publication; one database may classify a title as peer-reviewed, for instance, while another does not.

Check the Serials Directory to see if it characterizes the journal in question as “peer-reviewed.” This resource is available from Ebsco. You may access it via Quest, our online catalog, or from the Databases A-Z page.

Check the “Instructions to Authors” section in the journal, where the editor explains the process used to decide whether an article is appropriate for a particular journal. Editors of peer-reviewed journals often instruct authors to submit multiple copies for review.

Look carefully at a journal issue and consider the characteristics listed on the above. If you are in doubt, consult with a librarian or your professor.

 

BW
07-23-2007
JE

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