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Library & Research Overview: How to Identify a Peer-Reviewed Research Article

A guide to using the CIA Library and conducting academic research.

What is a Scholarly Journal? Peer Review?

A scholarly journal publishes authoritative research articles by academics or experts in a discipline.
The articles often undergo peer-review, that is they are evaluated by other experts before publication.

For more on the different types of periodicals see this chart:

Scholarly Journals  v. Popular Magazines v. Trade Journals


Finding a Peer-Reviewed Article

Select Peer-Reviewed or Scholarly when you search

Omnivore ArticleSearch, and most databases, have a button to check when you search or limit/filter your search results.
Omnivore Articles screenshots 

Advanced Search page  Search Results page

Omnivore peer reviewed screenshot

How to Identify a Peer-Reviewed Article

Articles are labelled in Omnivore as "Peer-reviewed"

Peer reviewed article

How to Identify a Research Article

Confirm that an article in a peer-reviewed journal is a Research article

Limiting your search results to articles published in peer reviewed scholarly journals is the first step. 
Scholarly Journals include other types of documents, such as essays, literature reviews, book reviews, commentary, letters to the editor, announcements, etc. So...

How do I know if it is an actual research article? 

A research article reports the original work of a scholar and will present evidence and conclusions.

Read the Abstract (summary of the article) or Introduction (first paragraph) to identify the type of article and the topics covered.

A research article must have:

  • a named Author
  • a Bibliography or References
  • PDF format available
  • more than a few pages

How to Identify a Scientific Research Study

Look at the structure of the article; most articles that report results of a research study use a standard format:

  • Abstract (summary of the whole article)
  • Introduction (why they did the research)
  • Materials & Methodology (how they did the research)
  • Results (what happened)
  • Discussion (what the results mean)
  • Conclusion (what they learned)
  • References (whose research they read)

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