In academic publishing, the goal of peer review is to assess the quality of articles submitted for publication in a scholarly journal. Before an article is deemed appropriate to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, it must undergo the following process:
Because a peer-reviewed journal will not publish articles that fail to meet the standards established for a given discipline, peer-reviewed articles that are accepted for publication exemplify the best research practices in a field.
Scholarly articles are a great resource for finding in-depth, current information on a topic. Scholarly articles have a more narrow focus than books, so you can try searching for more specific topics.
The McQuade Library subscribes to over 220 databases that range from general to subject-specific.
How can you tell if a book is scholarly?
The fastest way is to check the publisher- if it's published by a university press (e.g. Chicago, Harvard, etc.) or other academic presses (e.g., Blackwell, Routledge, Palgrave, Ashgate) it is scholarly. Another way to decide is to look at the book's intended audience and purpose.
How are scholarly books different from regular books?
Scholarly books are published with the goal of contributing to research and knowledge of a subject, and support future research by scholars and students, not necessarily making money.
Who decides whether or not a scholarly book gets published?
All scholarly books go through an extensive process in which experts in the field read the manuscripts and decide if the book is worthy to be published. In other words, scholarly books are peer reviewed sources.
Remember, scholarly books are just one of many kinds of books available through the library. If you are unsure if the book you have found is scholarly ask a librarian or your professor.
When searching for articles, it's important to know what type of source, or periodical in which the articles are published. This is beacuse each type has its own purpose, intent, audience, etc. This guide lists criteria to help you identify scholarly journals, trade journals, and magazines. It is the first step in critically evaluating your source of information. Determining what makes a journal scholarly is not a clear-cut process, but there are many indicators which can help you.
Journal of Asian Studies
A note about "peer review." Peer review insures that the research reported in a journal's article is sound and of high quality. Sometimes the term "refereed" is used instead of peer review.
General Interest Magazines
How do you find scholarly journals?
The McQuade Library has many online periodical databases which contain scholarly journal articles. Databases such as EBSCOhost and INFOTRAC allow you to limit your search to peer reviewed or refereed journals.
If you have found an article and are not sure if it is scholarly or not you can find out by consulting the following books located in the Reference Room:
LaGuardia, Cheryl, Magazines for Libraries, 12th ed., New Providence, NJ: R.R. Bowker. (Ref Z 6941 .K2 2003)
Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory, New York: Bowker, 2003. (Ref Z 6941 .U5 2003)
If you need assistance or require further information please ask a librarian.
The information contained in this brochure was adapted from Working with Faculty to Design Undergraduate Information Literacy Programs: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians by Rosemary Young, New York: Neal Schuman, 1999. (Updated 01/07/04)
When you are determining whether or not the article you found is a peer-reviewed article, you should consider the following.