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HORT 4099 Horticulture Capstone

Course guide for Hort 4099 and a great starting place for research.

Locating the RIGHT Article

We have already covered Peer-Review in Section One. However, we haven't really discussed where you can find Peer-Reviewed 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.


  1. Try a different database: If you were using a subject-specific database, try Discovery or Academic Search Complete.
  2. Use fewer search terms or make the terms more general: Try a small number of keywords. Based on the results, determine if you need to add more terms or try different terms.
  3. Brainstorm synonyms and add them to your search with OR between them: For example: salary OR pay OR wages OR earnings
  4. Broaden your topic: You may not need to choose a different topic, but you may need to think more broadly about your topic.
  5. Consider if your topic is too recent. You're not going to find peer-reviewed articles on something that happened a few months ago, but you might find newspaper and magazine articles. 



  1. Look at your search terms. Can they be more specific? Do you have too few terms? 
  2. Check how your terms are combined. Make sure you are not using OR between terms that mean different things, for example women OR salary, which will get you a lot of irrelevant results. 
  3. Consider if your topic is too broad. You may need to narrow in on more specific aspects of your topic and search these individually.
  4. Can you apply limiters? Limiters (such as date and format) give you a more targeted results list. Do you need to only use scholarly peer-reviewed articles? Should your sources be fairly recent? Most databases have ways to limit your results. 



These databases are reference resources and contain encyclopedias, dictionaries, and congressional reports made up of popular sources (newspapers, reports, websites, etc.) These databases are here to help you learn more about the topic you are researching. These resources are great at helping you put your topic in context and identifying related concepts and keywords you can use to find more about your topic in the other databases. 

Newspapers are NOT peer-reviewed resources BUT can be great for adding local perspective on the topic you are researching. It might be difficult to find perspective, opinions, or even recent updates in peer-reviewed articles, newspapers can help with this. 

These databases contain multiple different types of sources so be sure to filter to only "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" sources. If we don't have access to a journal article, we can get it via Interlibrary Loan (see the welcome page). 

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