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Library DIY

Checking Whether an Article is Peer Reviewed

Tips for Identifying Peer Reviewed Articles

  • There are several ways to determine whether an article is academicscholarlypeer reviewed or refereed. Remember that these additional terms are often used to mean peer reviewed.
  • If you found the article in a library database, the database will often use a specific, labeled icon to mark an article as academic or scholarly, or as a different type of resource.
  • The Academic Journal or Scholarly Journal icon signifies that an article is from an academic or scholarly source and is probably peer reviewed. It may look like a page with a lot of text.
  • The Periodical icon signifies that an article is from a non-academic source and is unlikely to be peer reviewed. Types of periodicals include newspapers and magazines, so the icon may look like pages from one of these publication types.
  • Exceptions: There is a small chance that an article labeled with the Academic Journal icon is not actually peer reviewed, this happens with articles that a journal includes such as editorial (opinion) content or brief reviews of other publications or products.

Sample Results from a Database Search

Results from a Search in the Education Source Database


The image shows two article results from the Education Source database, which looks and functions similarly to many of the library's other databases. The first result (Is Kindergarten the new prep?...) is from Educating Young Children, a source that is considered a periodical and is labeled with the Periodical icon, which means its articles are not likely to be peer reviewed. The second result (Exploring out-of-school play....) is from Early Childhood Education Journal, which is labeled as an Academic Journal with the corresponding icon. Therefore, the article is probably peer reviewed.


Finding Out More Information About Specific Journals

Article Record Page in a Database


Clicking on an article title (Exploring out-of-school play....) opens the article record page showing the journal name, which is also a link.


Article record page from database search with journal name link indicated

Journal Publication Details Page


Clicking on the journal name opens a page showing publication details for Early Childhood Education Journal which includes the information that the journal is academic and peer reviewed.


Publication details page in database for Early Childhood Education Journal

Finding Journal Information Outside of the Library Databases

Searching the Web for Journal Information

Maybe you have come across a journal article in a shared online folder or through another way that does not directly involve a Bell Library database and consequently you cannot look for specific icons or database labels. You can search outside the library databases to find information about journals' publishing practices.

  • Try a Google search using the title of the journal.
  • Look for a link to the journal's home page in your results list.
  • From a journal's home page, see if you can find a link labeled "About the Journal" or maybe a page described as "Guidelines for Authors" or "Guidelines for Submissions."
  • Look for the words "peer review" or similar phrases such as "blind review" (which implies peer review) to determine if the journal requires submitted articles to undergo peer review.