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Peer Reviewed Journals

The researcher's task is to locate the relevant, credible literature on a topic, including the most up-to-date publications. Researchers use bibliographic databases and other methods to identify these publications.  Much of the scholarly literature is published in peer-reviewed sources, e.g. journal articles or conference proceedings.

What is the difference between a periodical, a journal, and a
peer-reviewed journal?

magnifying glass

Any publication issued at regular intervals.  Periodicals contain individual articles written by various authors.  Some examples include the News-Press, People Magazine, Consumer Reports, or scholarly journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine.


A type of periodical.  Journals often contain scholarly articles written by experts and are documented with citations and bibliographies (or reference lists).

Peer-reviewed Journal

A special type of journal. Peer-reviewed journals have been reviewed by a panel of subject experts.  These peer reviewers scrutinize articles for significance, relevance, sound research design, accurate presentation, and clarity before they are accepted for publication. Usually the process is a blind review, that is, the author's name is not on the manuscript when it is reviewed and the author and the reviewers do not know each other's identities.

These peer reviewers scrutinize research reports for significance, relevance, sound research design, accurate presentation, clarity, etc. Refereed journals are considered the most respected journals and researchers attempt to have their works published in them.


Identifying peer-reviewed journals through FGCU resources

Many databases provide a feature that allows searches to be limited to peer-reviewed journals.
(Sometimes this feature is only found on the Advanced Search page of a database.) Look for a limit box to check for peer-reviewed or refereed. Resulting citations will be from only the peer-reviewed sources.

Example search screen:

Peer Reviewed EBSCO


Not all databases provide this limit feature. Also, if a database only refers to articles as "scholarly" but you are required to find peer-reviewed articles, you could check the journal's title in the electronic Ulrich's Periodical Directory  to be certain.


Ulrich's 2

Please contact the Reference Desk if you need further assistance: 239-590-7630.