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Scholarly and Peer Reviewed Information

This guide will present tools for you to identify scholarly and peer reviewed articles.

What are Scholarly & Peer Reviewed Articles?

Scholarly articles are articles written by, and for, academics and experts in the topic of the article.

Peer reviewed articles have been reviewed prior to publication by other experts in the topic of the article. This review ensures the information in the article is accurate and supported by other research.

Often, the terms "scholarly" and "peer reviewed" are used interchangeably.

  • Clarify with your instructor as to which kind of article is required.

Use the clues given below to determine if an article is scholarly and/or peer reviewed.

Is it a scholarly article? Here are some clues that can help you decide.

Clue 1: Length of the article

  • Avg 10-30 pages

Clue 2: Language/Vocabulary

  • Specialized language
  • Longer words
  • Complex sentences
  • May also include language to describe statistics/data along with graphs & charts

Clue 3: Abstract

  • Most scholarly articles begin with an abstract
  • An abstract is a mid-size paragraph that summarizes the article and/or outlines to article's topic

Clue 4: Works Cited

  • Scholarly articles will include a list of other research they referenced and/or used to support claims in the article
  • This list is found at the end of the article
  • Depending on the genre and citation style, this list may be titled "Bibliography," "Works Cited," of "References."
  • Check our Citing Your Sources guide for more information about using specific styles.

Is it a peer reviewed article? How do I know?

If your instructor requires that you use "peer reviewed" articles, you will need to know how to determine which articles have been reviewed.  Note: Many, but not all, scholarly articles are peer reviewed.

Method 1: Author Instructions

  • Go to the website for the journal.
  • Look in the "instructions for authors" section and/or the "editorial policies" section of the website. These sections may provide information on whether articles submitted for publication go through a peer review process.

The exact term "peer reviewed" may not be used, but look for wording around: copies of the manuscript being sent for review, the requirement to submit several copies, or the presence of an editorial board.

Your instructor may also require specific kinds of peer reviewed articles (e.g., blind review, masked review), and will provide guidance and instruction in class regarding this.

Method 2: Statements in Article

  • Sometimes, a statement is printed in the article stating when the article was received from the author and when it was accepted for publication.
  • This statement may appear at the beginning (first/front page) or at the end of the article.


Life Cycle of a Scholarly Article
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