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Peer Review

This guide will help you understand what a peer-reviewed article is, how to find them, and how to identify them "in the wild".


Welcome to the PEER-REVIEW guide

Also known as refereeing, peer-review is an important part of the article publication process. As students, you will often be asked to limit your searches to peer-reviewed articles. This guide will help you understand what a peer-reviewed article is, how to find them, and how to identify them "in the wild".

Don’t forget to check out the related guides for similar topics and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks, and enjoy!

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What is a journal and a peer reviewed article?

Watch this great 2-minute video by Northeastern Illinois University Libraries on what is a peer-reviewed article to get started. 


The following terms will be used throughout the guide, you may find it beneficial to familiarize yourself with them.
Where noted the definitions came from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.




Noun : a person who has done advanced study in a special field (Merriam-webster)



Noun : one that is of equal standing with another (Merriam-Webster)
          : one belonging to the same societal group especially based on age, grade, or status (Merriam-Webster)




Noun : a person who reviews a paper and especially a technical paper and recommends that it should or should not be published (Merriam-Webster)

Verb (also Refereed, Refereeing) : to review (something, such as a technical paper) before publication (Merriam-Webster)


Peer Review

Noun : a process by which something proposed (as for research or publication) is evaluated by a group of experts in the appropriate field (Merriam-Webster) (i.e. peers)

The term "Refereed" is sometimes used instead of 'Peer-reviewed" - they are synonyms. In this case, the reviewers are known as "referees".




Noun : published with a fixed interval between the issues or numbers (Merriam-Webster)

Journals, magazines and newspapers are all examples of periodicals.


Academic or Scholarly Journal

A periodical that includes academic or scholarly articles written by scholars and focused on a particular topic or field of study. The journal (and its articles) may or may not be peer-reviewed. 


Peer-Reviewed (or Refereed) Journal

An academic or scholarly journal that puts its articles thorough a peer-review process prior to publishing them. Most (if not all) peer-reviewed journals are academic or scholarly - but not all academic or scholarly journals are peer-reviewed. 

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