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Peer-Review and Primary Research

What is Peer-Reviewed Literature

Peer-reviewed journals are also called “refereed” or “juried” journals. They are sometimes called "scholarly" or "academic" journals. The peer review process means that a manuscript is reviewed by others in the same field. These individuals (peers) read and review the manuscript, offering their comments and judgment as to its value. The process is intended to enhance the quality of the publications.

Note: You might find different terminology used to refer to peer-reviewed articles. A professor might ask you to find primary studies, primary research, scholarly articles or peer-reviewed articles. These are all generally referred as the same thing, however, if you need further help ask your professor or a librarian!

Below is an example of a peer-reviewed journal for Wildlife Management:

Example image of the Journal of Wildlife Management

Identifying Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Characteristics of Peer Reviewed Journals

  • Journal articles are written by experts in the field. 
  • Journal articles are often intended for a person with knowledge in a specific discipline: a medical journal is written for doctors, a legal journal for attorneys, etc.
  • The author of a journal article is always listed—usually, along with his or her qualifications or brief information about the author.
  • Journal articles include a list of references. This allows you to see what the sources are and to check them if you wish, providing you with other possible resources.
  • Scholarly journals are often published by a professional organization or society.
  • Often, the word “journal” appears in the title. However, this is not always a good clue: Ladies Home Journal, for instance, is a popular magazine.
  • Often, a journal article is preceded by an abstract, or summary of the content.
  • Journals do not include advertisements.
  • Titles of articles in journals are very revealing of content, not just clever or catchy, as is often the case with popular magazines.
  • Scholarly journal articles often report on research; they may include theoretical assumptions, methodology, hypotheses, results, and conclusions. 

Example of a Peer-Reviewed Journal Article


Image of a anatomy of a scholarly article.

Arizona State University. (n.d.). Anatomy of an Article. Retrieved from


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