Finding Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

What is a Peer-Reviewed Journal?

Most scholarly journals are peer-reviewed (or refereed) publications, which means articles in them must be evaluated and approved by a panel of experts before they can be published. Unlike articles in popular magazines or newspapers, which are mainly written by reporters for a general audience, articles in peer-reviewed journals are written by scholars or researchers for specialists or students in particular fields of study. Peer-reviewed journal articles are usually more in-depth in their coverage of a topic and cite sources used (footnotes, references lists, etc.). These articles have higher quality academic information than articles from magazines, newspapers, or information found on ordinary Web pages. Examples of peer-reviewed journals include:

  • JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Journal of Accountancy
  • Journal of Animal Science
  • Rural Sociology

Finding Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Many indexes and article databases allow you to limit your search to articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals only. Two general databases that have peer-reviewed limits are:

  • Proquest: Use the check box to "Show articles from peer-reviewed publications only" on the search screen to limit your search to articles from peer-reviewed journals only. To see this screen, click on the thumbnail image below:
    Thumbnail image of ProQuest search screen with Peer-Reviewed check box marked -- second box following the Date Range options
    You can search for articles in the PA Research II-Peer Reviewed collection which includes many, but not all, of the peer-reviewed journals available in ProQuest.

  • Academic Search Premier: To find articles from peer-reviewed journals, use the Peer-Reviewed check box in the "Refine Search" tab below the search boxes. To see this screen, click on the thumbnail image below:
    Thumbnail image of Academic Search Elite search screen with Peer Reviewed box checked -- first item on the Refine Search tab below the search boxes

Most subject-specific library databases include many articles from peer-reviewed journals and other academic or specialized publications. To find a subject-specific library database, consult the Subject List of Electronic Indexes and Databases. Ask a reference librarian for assistance in finding peer-reviewed journal articles in different databases.

If you want to know if a particular publication is a peer-reviewed journal (sometimes called "Refereed"), you can check UlrichsWeb online, under "Basic Description" for each journal. Or, ask a reference librarian.

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Last Updated: 9 November 2006