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Research articles follow a particular format. Look for:
A brief introduction will often include a review of the existing literature on the topic studied, and explain the rationale of the author's study.
A methods section, where authors describe how they collected and analyzed data. Statistical analysis are included.
A results section describes the outcomes of the data analysis. Charts and graphs illustrating the results are typically included.
In the discussion, authors will explain their interpretation of their results and theorize on their importance to existing and future research.
References or works cited are always included. These are the articles and books that the authors drew upon to plan their study and to support their discussion.
Identifying Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
What is a Peer-Reviewed Article?
A peer-reviewed article is one that is written by an expert in a specific field and has been evaluated by other experts in the field and found to meet certain standards for quality. Also known as scholarly, academic, or refereed articles, peer-reviewed articles are published in journals that are designed to be read by other experts in the field. As a result, the language is subject-specific.
Where do I find Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles?
Where do I find Peer-Reviewed Articles?
Some library databases contain only articles from peer-reviewed journals, but many contain a mix of peer-reviewed journal articles, trade and popular magazine articles, newspaper articles, reports, and more. You may also be looking for more than just peer-reviewed journal articles and in that case, a mix isn't a bad thing. If you want only peer-reviewed articles, limit your search. Some databases offer a checkbox that accomplishes this:
Keep in mind that even within scholarly journals, there are non-peer-reviewed articles such as book reviews and editorials. These will be in your results when you apply this limiter.
How Do I Know if the Article I've Found is Peer-Reviewed?
Peer-reviewed journal articles usually have the following elements:
Written by an expert in that subject area. Check the credentials of the author.
Contain a literature review to engage with previous research within the field.
Contain a list of references either in footnotes or a bibliography.