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Ethical Documentation - Academic Integrity in Research & Writing

Research Articles & Peer Review

So your professor asked you to limit your research to peer reviewed articles. What does this mean?

Generally speaking, the question of peer review most commonly arises when talking about the journal literature, but is also relevant for books as well. Peer review is the process by which research is assessed for quality, relevancy, and accuracy.  In a peer reviewed, or refereed journal, each manuscript submitted to the publisher is first reviewed anonymously by a group of experts - peers in the same field of study. These reviewers assess the quality of the research, the accuracy of the findings, and the relevancy of the research to the journal or profession.

Peer review is like quality control.  You should be able to trust the scholarship of the research because the publication has been vetted by a group of experts. 

All of the journal citation databases provided by the library include peer review journals. Not sure which journal database to use for your research? Need help limiting your search results to scholarly/peer reviewed materials? We're here to help. Call or email the library for more information. To learn more about the search features of specific databases, see the library guide on that resource.

Peer Review (in three minutes)

How do articles get peer reviewed? What role does peer review play in scholarly research and publication?

CSU Libraries (Producer), & Burke, A., Orphanides, A., Chung, H., Dorafsahr, D., Langdon, K. and Duckett, K. (Directors). (2014, April). Peer review in three minutes. [Video/DVD]

What is the Difference Between Popular, Trade, and Scholarly Publications?

VCU Libraries. Published on Jan 11, 2011. "Before choosing articles for a research paper, you need to recognize important differences between popular magazines, trade publications, and scholarly journals. This guide includes examples of each and demonstrates why it matters."

Generally speaking, a scholarly resource (versus a "popular" resource) is one that is:

  1. Written by academics or other professionals with advanced degrees that indicate their expertise in a field of study.
  2. Written for an audience of scholarly or professional peers.
  3. Generally published by a University press, professional society, or a recognized scientific publisher.
  4. Written in a language, style, and format that other researchers or scientists would easily understand, but that which the general public or lay person may not.
    1. Publications in this category would include peer reviewed journals as well as commonly recognized textbooks, guidelines, or data sets within a profession.
    2. Publications, especially journal articles, will follow a format that includes a list of authors, institutional affiliations, a structured abstract, a summary of the research methods used, and will always include a list of references supporting the research claims made in the document.

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