Frequently, journal articles are peer-reviewed or refereed. What does it mean to be peer-reviewed or refereed?
A peer-reviewed journal is one that is reviewed by persons who are not members of the editorial board, and who are not paid employees of the journal. The reviewers are “peers” of the authors in the sense that they have comparable academic or professional experience, and are thus qualified to meaningfully critique the quality of the article. The decision whether or not to publish an article normally depends primarily on the judgment of the reviewers, though the editors arbitrate between--and sometimes override—the reviewers’ decisions. The purpose of a peer review system is to ensure an objective standard of quality in articles accepted for publication, which does not depend merely on the subjective preferences of the editorial staff (as long as the articles are consistent with the goals of the journal).
Refereed is another name for peer-review, as the peers who review the article serve as a sort of referee.
The peer-reviewed label means literally that a panel of independent scholars have recommended the article for publication.
A way to be absolutely sure an article is from a peer-reviewed journal is to look in the database, UlrichsWeb (see link below). When you find your journal in UlrichsWeb, make sure there is a referee jersey icon associated with the title.
This multi-disciplinary database provides full text for more than 4,600 journals, including full text for nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles.
Over 400 overview articles, on key topics ranging from international issues to ethical standards, offer students, scholars, and practitioners a trusted foundation for a lifetime of work and research, with new articles and revisions to existing articles added regularly.
Consolidates current and archived information from thousands of newspaper titles, as well as newswires, Web editions, blogs, videos, broadcast transcripts, business journals, periodicals, government documents and other publications.
This full-text psychology database contains articles from highly-cited and landmark journals published by the APA, its imprint the Educational Publishing Foundation (EPF), and from allied organizations including the Canadian Psychological Association and the Hogrefe Publishing Group from 1988.
Covering the latest concepts, theories and methods from both applied and theoretical aspects of the social sciences, this full-text resource provides access to a wide assortment of the most important English-language social science journals.
Produced by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), this comprehensive collection offers extensive coverage of more than 850 social work and human services journals dating back to 1965. This database provides indexing and abstracts dealing with all aspects of the social work field, including theory and practice, areas of service and social issues and problems.
Search Tips for Databases
Be prepared with synonyms in case your original search produces no results. Use a thesaurus if the database is equipped with one.
Pay attention to search tips or help screens provided by each database. Even experienced researchers (like professors and librarians!) can have trouble when dealing with a new interface. Take the time to learn how to use the tool - it will help you to avoid frustration!
Remember that most databases allow for Boolean Searching (see YouTube video below). Use and to narrow, or to expand, not to exlude. Truncation is also useful for bringing back all relevant results. For example, type counsel* to bring back documents containing the words counsel, counseling, counselor....
Take advantage of the following sources of help:
College of Education Resource Coordinator: Sarah Burkhead Whittle. Use the information on the right sidebar to contact me with a question or to schedule a one-on-one reference session.
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