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Reading Scholarly Articles

Scholarly articles may seem daunting when researching. They often are long and filled with jargon. However, reading them efficiently comes down to having the right approach.

What is Peer Review?

Peer Review is the process that academic journals use to try to ensure accuracy of published research. In the peer review process articles are given to two or three experts in the field the article is discussing. They read and evaluate it for accuracy and then recommend to the journals editor if the article should be published or not. The reviewers also provide the author with suggest revisions to help improve the article. 

Most journals use a double blind peer review process where neither the authors nor the reviewers are aware of each others identities. This is done to ensure impartiality by the reviewers and authors. In academic publishing reviewers and authors are almost never paid for their work. Peer review is often a lengthy process that can take many months to years.  For a more in-depth discussion of this process see the video. 

If you have found a journal article online or in a library database, use this directory to search for the title of the journal your article is from. Choose the correct publication from the list of results. You will get a listing like the one shown below. Note the "Content Type" field - this is the field that tells you whether or not the journal is "academic / scholarly". Ulrichs use the word "refereed" and a little referee jersey to indicate that a journals conducts peer review on an item 

Here is what the Ulrichsweb directory looks like: