August 21st, 2008

Checkbox = Peer Review?


Some eagle-eyed First Course learners remarked that PsychARTICLES and the Sage databases don’t have a scholarly articles limiter checkbox.

(For some background on this option, see our media piece: What are Peer Reviewed Articles and How Do I Find Them?)

The reason that Sage and PsycARTICLES don’t have the checkbox is that their material is all peer reviewed. Of course, we shouldn’t just rely on a checkbox to do our thinking for us. Even scholarly journals publish non-peer-reviewed elements such as editorial columns and book reviews, which can sneak their way into search results.

Those familiar with peer reviewed articles should be able to instantly recognize characteristics from our guide above:

  • Always include references, footnotes or a bibliography of works cited
  • Uses jargon of the discipline
  • Reports new academic research studies, including methodology and data analysis
  • Gives author’s title, affiliation, and usually contact information
  • Has a long descriptive title
  • Article is longer than five pages
  • Very few advertisements or images in print version

Of course, you should always investigate the credentials of an author before you determine a work as credible. Knowing how to determine a scholarly article by sight this way, however, will help you avoid making research roadblocks for yourself out of absent checkboxes.

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