Skip to Main Content

Introduction to Research: Humanities and Social Sciences

Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Did your professor say that you have to use scholarly (or peer-reviewed) articles for your assignment? That means that you need to find an article that was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Articles in scholarly journals are a critical source of authoritative information, as they contain the results of original academic research or experimentation. Scholarly journals are also referred to as "academic," "peer-reviewed," or "refereed" journals.

Academic Journals

  • Tend to have words like journal, studies, review, annual, or quarterly in the title, for example, International Journal of Plant Sciences, Canadian Historical Review, or Queen’s Quarterly
  • Can have a university name or an academic society in the title, for example, Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law or Journal of the Canadian Historical Association. 
  • If you are unsure whether the publication is academic or peer-reviewed:  search the web for the journal's homepage and look at the Editorial or Submissions policy and use Ulrich's Periodicals Directory to find out more about the publication.

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

Academic journal articles are markedly different from magazine and newspaper articles. NCSU Libraries has created this interactive activity that will quickly and effectively introduce you to the various parts of an academic journal article: 

  • Title usually acts as a brief summary containing technical terms

  • Authors and credentials establish the authority of the contributor(s) and ultimately the article

  • Abstract is brief article summary to help readers quickly establish if an article fits their needs

  • Charts, Graphs & Equations related directly to the research may be presented within the article

  • Article Text is the body of an article, typically comprised of common parts

  • Conclusion summarizing the results or findings of the article

  • References a list of other publications cited throughout the article 

Peer Review Filters

In Omni (and many of the article indexes and databases to which Queen's Library subscribes) an option is available to filter, or limit, your search to scholarly or peer-reviewed journals. While these filters are a major convenience, they may not be 100% accurate.

Omni is drawing upon data from a vast quantity of collections and resources (mostly full-text databases, indexes and abstracts) and interpretation of what is academic, peer-reviewed, or a journal can vary from resource to resource.

It is essential that you evaluate every source you are considering using for your research paper.

What is not Scholarly?

Popular magazines or newspapers can be good sources for research projects. However, they are NOT considered scholarly journals!

In order to Identify a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal article, check our guide:

Distinguishing Scholarly from Non Scholarly Periodicals

to learn how to identify the difference between them.