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Research Help Desk and Reference Resources

Recommended Databases

The databases below cover a vast range of topics, and you can select for peer-reviewed content.

More Databases

Below are three ways to identify good databases for your topic.  Many include peer-reviewed articles.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

What is a peer-reviewed article and why do I want it?

Articles come in different kinds of publications.

            Some of the most important publication types are:  

  •   Newspapers
  •   Magazines
  •   Trade Journals
  •   Scholarly/Academic Journals


The quality and purpose of information in these publication types are not all equal.

Newspapers and Magazines are written by paid journalists and are designed for easy reading.

Trade Journals are written by people in an industry.

Scholarly/Academic Journals are produced and published by university presses and scholarly groups.

Peer-reviewed articles published in an academic journal are considered the gold standard of tested information.

Peer-reviewed articles are subjected to critiques by multiple experts in a field before being published.

The peer-review and publication process often takes well over one year, so it might be hard to find a peer-reviewed article for a currently emerging topic.

However, your instructors and professors often demand peer-reviewed articles for your papers because this is the most scrutinized information available.

How can I tell if an article is Peer-Reviewed?

There are several visual clues:

  • lots of citations - you know, endnotes, footnotes, etc.
  • drab and text heavy
  • lack of colorful illustrations

There are several textual clues:

  • presence of an abstract (summary)
  • listing of author's affiliation with a university or institution
  • title often says "Journal of ....  this or that"

Less often, very direct textual statement:

  • dates of article submission and acceptance (provided in some journals)

If you are still unsure, you can search for the journal's homepage on the web - editors are usually quite proud to announce that they are publishing a peer-reviewed journal.

Remember, though, that not everything published in a scholarly journal is an ARTICLE!  When limiting to "peer-reviewed" the databases are going by the type of journal, and not distinguishing the variety of content in the journal, which typically also contains editorials and reviews, which are not peer-reviewed.