Simply stated, a peer reviewed article is: an article in an academic journal that has been critically evaluated by scholars (experts) in that field. Before an article is deemed appropriate to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, it must undergo the following process:
· Because a peer-reviewed journal will not publish articles that fail to meet the standards established for a given discipline, peer-reviewed articles that are accepted for publication exemplify the best research practices in a field.
When you are determining whether or not the article you found is a peer-reviewed article, you should consider the following questions:
Did you limit to 'article' in your search? If not, you might be looking at a book review or editorial piece.
Is the journal in which you found the article published or sponsored by a professional scholarly society, professional association, or university academic department? Does it describe itself as a peer-reviewed publication? (To know that, check the journal's website).
Did you find a citation for it in one of the databases that includes scholarly publications? (JSTOR, EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete, etc.)? Read the database description to see if it includes scholarly publications.
Did you limit your search to scholarly or peer-reviewed publications?
Is there an abstract (summary) at the beginning of the article?
Is the tone of the article thoughtful, restrained and serious?
Does the article have footnotes or citations of other sources?
Does the article have a bibliography or list of references at the end?
Are the author's credentials listed?
Is the topic of the article narrowly focused and explored in depth?
Is the article based on either original research or authorities in the field(as opposed to personal opinion)?
Is the article written for readers with some prior knowledge of the subject?
History Databases in the library (many of these databases contain scholarly articles)
Primo Article Search (select 'articles' indicator and limit to peer reviewed journals after entering search term)
E-journals that cover U.S. history (listing of full-text e-journals, most are contained in the recommended databases below)