Have you heard your professor say that he or she would like you to use “peer reviewed” articles in your research? Are you wondering what this term means or why it’s important?
Peer reviewed journal articles undergo a type of screening process before they are published. You might also hear them referred to as “refereed”, or scholarly, journal articles. These articles are usually written by a specialist in a chosen field and targeted to a specific audience, like researchers or scholars in their field. The peer review process requires the author to submit the article to a group of subject experts for their evaluation. These subject experts are unaware of who has written the article. As they evaluate the article, they decide if the article contributes something new or worthwhile to the field. The subject experts also determine if the author’s research claims can be substantiated and if the article appeals to the journal’s intended audience. After the reviewers evaluate the article, they will provide a recommendation for the article to be accepted, rejected, or revised by the author. Published peer review articles have undergone major scrutiny. One biology journal estimates that only one-third of the articles they receive are even submitted for peer review, and of that group, only half find their way into publication.
Peer reviewed (or scholarly) articles are different from ones you read in a newspaper or magazine in several ways. For example, the title of a scholarly article usually is very descriptive. You normally won’t see a “catchy” headline in a scholarly article as you would in a magazine or newspaper. The articles you find in a scholarly journal can be long – anywhere from five to 20 or more pages, with an extensive list of references at the end of the article. You won’t usually find references or lists of sources in magazine articles. Also, the vocabulary used in a scholarly article is geared towards others in that specific field, while newspaper or magazine articles are written more for the general public. You will find advertisements and color photos in magazine articles, but you typically won’t find either in a scholarly journal. There are other differences as well, but the main point is that scholarly articles are almost always held up to a much higher standard of publication than those in a newspaper or magazine.
Your library here at UNH has thousands of scholarly articles in many different databases designed for all of your research needs. Start off by visiting the library website (http://www.newhaven.edu/library) and then click on ‘Databases’ on the left hand side of the page. You can then log in with your UNH username and password. The library has grouped the databases alphabetically and by subject area for your convenience. We also have an annotated list that gives a short description of each database to help you decide which one may be best suited to your topic. As a tip, with each database you select, take a look to see if there is a checkbox to limit your results to “peer-reviewed publications” or scholarly or academic journals. If so, check that box first and then type in your search terms. Here are just a few you might want to start with:
Academic OneFile is a source for peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world’s leading journals and reference sources. It contains extensive coverage of the physical sciences, technology, medicine, social sciences, the arts, theology, literature, and other subjects. On the main screen, click on the ‘Home’ link on the far left
and then enter your search terms in the appropriate box and click ‘Search,’ You will then see a page with several tabs listing the total number of search results for your topic. One of these tabs is called ‘Academic Journals’, which you can click on to limit your results. Or you can check the box on the main search screen to limit your results to “peer-reviewed publications” before you enter your search terms
JSTOR contains journals of scholarly articles across a wide variety of subject areas, like art, biological sciences, economics, history, and many more.
SocINDEX with Full text is the world’s most comprehensive and highest quality sociology research database. SocINDEX with Full Text contains full text for 777 journals dating back to 1908. From the main search screen, check the box to limit your results to “Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals,” and then enter your search terms
Please let us know if you need any help finding scholarly articles for your research. You can stop by the Information Desk here at the library, call us at (203) 932-7189, or email us at email@example.com. We are here to help!