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How to Research: Understand Peer Review

Just getting started on a research paper or project? Don't know where to start? This is the guide for you!

Peer Review

Peer review is a process in which an article is screened and evaluated by a panel of experts before it is published. Reviewers will evaluate the article for quality, credibility, and accuracy. 

If you need to find peer-reviewed articles, use the search options/limiters available in the database.

Peer-reviewed journals may contain information that is not peer-reviewed, such as editorials, opinions, or letters. Remember to evaluate specific articles. Check with your instructor to make sure you have the appropriate sources required for your assignment.

How To Tell If an Article is Peer-Reviewed

Usually a journal is peer-reviewed when:

  • It is published or sponsored by a professional scholarly society or association.
  • It has a list of reviewers or an editorial board of experts listed inside the front cover, back cover, or on the first few pages. This list can also usually be found somewhere on the journal's webpage.

If you have found your article online in an article database, you can check to see if the database has information about the journal to determine if it is peer-reviewed.

Alternatively, you can do an Internet search for your journal's name to see if the publisher's site has any useful information.

When in doubt, ask us at the library!

Peer Review Video

Types of Peer Review

The peer review process can follow several different methods:

  • Blind/Double-Blind: neither author nor reviewer know each other
  • Open: both author and reviewer know each other
  • Anonymous: reviewer knows author, author does not know reviewer
  • Signed: author knows reviewer; reviewer does not know author

You can usually find out what kind of peer review is used by checking the journal's website.