Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Online Education: Peer-Reviewed Tips

How to Determine if a Journal is Peer-Reviewed

There are two ways to determine if an article is peer-reviewed:

  1. Search for the journal title (not the article title) online (using Google) and then read about the journal (check the "About the Journal" information).
  2. Search for the journal title in the database, Ulrichsweb:
    • Go to the Himmelfarb Library homepage and click on "All Databases"
    • In the A to Z list at the top of the page, click on the letter "U"
    • Click "Access Online" for Ulrichsweb
    • Enter the journal title into the search box and click on "search"
    • In the search results, look for a referee shirt icon to the left of the journal title ("refereed" is another name for "peer reviewed")

Is it Peer-Reviewed?

A peer-reviewed journal is one in which articles are submitted to researchers who are experts in the field and its content and references are evaluated for accuracy before they are published.
Peer-reviewed journal articles will have the following characteristics:

  • Abstract: Usually will include an "abstract" at the beginning of the article
  • Authority: Author(s) identity and affiliation
  • Length: Usually are lengthy articles
  • Scientific Format: May follow a scientific format (Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusion)
  • References: References included at the end of the article

Definition of key terms:

Peer-Reviewed: Part of the publication process for scholarly publications in which a group of experts examines a document to determine whether it is worthy of publication. Journals and other publications use a peer review process — usually arranged so that reviewers do not know who the author of the document is — to assess articles for quality and relevance

Refereed Journal: A publication for which every submission is screened through a peer-review process. Refereed publications are considered authoritative because experts have reviewed the material in advance of publication to determine its quality

Scholarly Journal: A journal that is primarily addressed to scholars, often focusing on a particular discipline. Scholarly journals are often refereed publications and for some purposes may be considered more authoritative than magazines. Articles in scholarly journals usually are substantial in length, use specialized language, contain footnotes or endnotes, and are written by academic researchers rather than by journalists.

Evaluating Web Resources

Before using a web site look at the URL (web address) to identify the producer of the web site, and its purpose.

Look at the domain name to evaluate who produced the site:

.gov = Government agency

.net = Internet Service Provider

.com = Commercial site

.edu = Higher education

.mil= Military site

.~ = ("tilde") Personal

.org = Organization

The Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library
Questions? Ask us.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The George Washington University