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SearchSmart Tutorial

Part 1: Exploring Your Topic

Scholarly Sources

Watch the video and view the slides below to find out about what defines scholarly sources and the peer review publishing process.   

Is it a peer-reviewed article?

Title slide: Is it a peer-reviewed article? (Use the arrows to the right and left to navigate)
As you learned from the video, some scholarly articles go through a rigorous publishing process called peer review. So how can you tell if an article has gone through this process? Step 1: Check the database’s tools to see if it tells you that the article was published in a peer-reviewed journal. If that doesn't work, then go on to step 2.
Step 2: Go to the journal’s website to see if they describe their publishing process as a peer-review process. If that doesn't work, then go on to step 3.
Step 3: Check the tool Ulrichsweb (available through the Libraries’ databases page) to see if the journal is peer-reviewed.
Check the database’s tools to see if it tells you that the article was published in a peer-reviewed journal. In some databases, you can click on the journal title to see more information about the journal.
Image shows the record for the journal within the database, showing a Yes in the Peer Reviewed field. In this case, the database includes information about the journal’s review process.
Step 2: Go to the journal’s website to see if they describe their publishing process as a peer-review process. Image shows a screenshot of part of the American Psychological Association website. For example, this description of the journal American Psychologist on the publisher’s website shows that it is a peer-reviewed publication.
Image of the Libraries' databases webpage. Step 3: Check the tool Ulrichsweb (available through the Libraries’ databases page) to see if the journal is peer-reviewed. On the databases page, select  Ulrichsweb.com
Image of Ulrichsweb homepage. On Ulrichsweb, type in the title of the journal and search.
Image of search results in Ulrichsweb. In the search results, you may see multiple formats of the journal. The format shouldn’t matter; just make sure the publisher is the same as the journal you are looking for.
Image of journal record in Ulrichsweb. After selecting the journal, you will see a Yes or No in the Refereed field. Refereed is another word for peer-reviewed. So it’s clear that American Psychologist is a peer-reviewed journal.
Review of the options for checking to see if a journal is peer-reviewed: check the database's tools; go to the journal's website; and check the tool Ulrichsweb.  If you have trouble with any of these options, contact us for help using Ask a Librarian through the Libraries' website.

Is it a peer-reviewed article? (PowerPoint version)

Themes

Essentials:

  • To be a scholarly source, a publication must have been written by authors with qualifications in their fields and have been published in a scholarly journal, book, or collection. 
  • Specific library resources such as Ulrichsweb are available to help you decide whether an article is peer-reviewed or not. 

 

Words to Know:

Scholarly articles are written by people with credentials in their fields and are published in journals that include editorial processes to ensure that the articles are valid. 

Peer-reviewed articles are scholarly articles that were published in journals that use the peer-review editorial process. The peer-review process involves sharing the article with other experts in the field who can assess the rigorousness of the research and value of the article to the field.