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Education Research Guide

What does "peer review" mean?

Peer review is a process in which other scholars in the author's field or specialty critically assess a draft of the article. Peer reviewed, or refereed, journals are scholarly journals that only publish articles that have gone through this review process.

A scholarly journal is visibly different from other periodicals/magazines, but sometimes it's hard to tell. You can use Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory to check.

Scholarly journals vs. popular magazines

 

Popular Magazines & Newspapers

Scholarly Journals

 Audience

 General public

 Professionals within a field
 Scholars

 Articles written by

 Journalists
 Reporters
 Almost anyone

 Professionals within a field
 Scholars

 Articles usually indicate author 

 affiliations (such as universities or research centers)

 Content

 News
 Non-technical language

 In-depth research
 Technical language
 Research reports

 Charts, graphs, or equations
 Bibliographies
 References (endnotes and footnotes, 

 often very helpful in finding more

 information on a subject)

 Continuous pagination (first issue of

 the year starts at page 1, subsequent

 issues continue the page numbering 

 from the previous issue)

 Appearance

 Consumer advertising
 Glossy photos

 Dense text
 Few ads (specialized)

 Publication 

 schedule

 Weekly
 Daily

 

 Issues usually identified by 

 day/month/year

 Monthly
 Quarterly
 Biannually

 

 Issues usually identified by volume

 and/or issue number

 Can be useful

 for:

 Broad overview of complex  

 issues.
 Popular perspective on any  

 issue.
 Finding out what's being  

 written about a subject    

 generally.

 Current research
 Checking accuracy of data or statistics

 Other factors

 Primary sources for popular

 culture or public opinion study;

 usually used as secondary 

 sources

 Peer Reviewed

 Abstracts or summaries often provided before each

 article.

 Primary sources for lab or field research; secondary

 sources for literary criticism.

 Examples

 Examples include Time, U.S. News & 

 World Report National Geographic,

 and the New York Times

Time magazine

 Examples include American Journal of Sociology,

 Journal of the American Medical Association

 (JAMA) [the word “journal” is often in the title]