With so much information to choose from, scholars want to be certain that the published articles they read reflect solid scholarship. The peer-review process, in which experts anonymously scrutinize the drafts of articles for validity, significance and originality, ensures to some extent that only quality information is published. While not all scholarly journals go through the peer-review process, it is safe to assume that a peer-reviewed journal is also scholarly.
Most of the Library’s journal article databases that contain scholarly materials include a filter for “peer review” or “refereed” that allows the researcher to limit results to articles that have undergone this critical assessment process. Databases generally provide a convenient “limiter” option on the initial search screen which, when selected, reduces your search results to this type of scholarly journal article.
Many subject-specific databases in which the majority of journals indexed are scholarly may not have a peer-review limiter. Instead, your search results are automatically sorted by document type. Along with groups of specialized books, dissertations, conference papers and book reviews, you will also find journal articles divided into categories of journals and peer-reviewed journals.
If the database you are searching does not provide a mechanism for limiting to peer-reviewed journals or at least to scholarly journals, use one of the Library’s review tools, such as Ulrich’s International Periodical Directory or Magazines for Libraries, to determine its designation.
For additional information, please contact your subject liaison librarian or ask at the Information Services Desk. The Library Database column is a monthly feature by Librarian Judy Vogt. Please e-mail your story ideas to Vogt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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