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AFST 100: Blackness and Whiteness Outside the U.S.

Professor Daniel Williams - fall 2023

What is Peer Review?

Peer review is a process for evaluating research studies before they are published by an academic journal. These studies typically communicate original research or analysis for other researchers. When an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal, you can be certain that experts in the relevant field have read it and, independent of their own particular opinions, verified it to meet a high standard of scholarship. Scholars rely on peer review to ensure that the scholarship they exchange with each other is always based in good research and the established standards of their discipline. 

 

The Peer Review Process at a Glance:

1. Researchers conduct a study and write a draft.   2. Researchers submit a draft to a journal.   3. Journal editor considers and sends to reviewers.   4. Reviewers provide feedback and ask questions.   5. Researchers receive feedback, revise, or respond.   6. Journal rejects, accepts, or accepts with revisions.

 

Terminology

Related terms you might hear include: 

  • Academic: Intended for academic use, or an academic audience. 
  • Scholarly: Intended for scholarly use, or a scholarly audience. 
  • Refereed: Refers to a specific kind of peer-review process

Peer Reviewed or Refereed 

These terms are interchangeable with each other - the articles are always either reviewed or refereed by multiple experts (peers) in a highly structured and critical process. The author then receives that feedback, makes changes and resubmits the work, and then the journal editor decides whether or not to publish it. 

Academic or Scholarly

These terms are interchangeable with each other, and these articles are not always peer reviewed/refereed. These articles are still research focused and heavily sources (lots of references), and written for an academic audience, but they may have only been reviewed by an editorial board, rather than content experts. 

Finding Peer Reviewed Articles

Looking for peer-reviewed articles? Try searching in Catalyst or a library database and look for options to limit your results to scholarly/peer-reviewed or academic journals.

Catalyst

Get scholarly articles in Catalyst, out library catalog. Here's how:

  1. Perform a search on your topic. 
  2. Select the Scholarly Articles option under Show Only in the Refine My Results column. 
  3. All your results will now be scholarly (but not necessarily peer reviewed) articles.

Image of Refine My Results page with the Scholarly Articles box checked.

 

ProQuest

Get peer reviewed articles in ProQuest. Here's how:

  1. Perform a search on your topic. 
  2. Select the Peer Reviewed option under the filters column on the left-hand side of the results page.  
  3. All your results will now be peer reviewed articles.

Image of ProQuest filter page, with the Peer reviewed box checked.

Elements of a Peer Reviewed Article

Look for these structure elements when you're evaluating an article to confirm that it's peer reviewed:

Article Title

Usually rather lengthy, including technical terms and methodologies.

Author(s) & their Credentials

In addition to their names, you may also see authors' credentials - where they work/teach, their degrees, contact information etc. This information is included to help establish their authority.

Abstract

A brief summary of the article - often divided into the same sections as the article text. Readers use abstracts to quickly determine if the article will help meet their information needs. 

Article Text

The actual text of the article is usually divided into sections with headings: introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion and conclusion. There are frequently also charts and other visual representations of data.  

References 

You'll find in-text or footnotes throughout an academic article, and a length list of corresponding citations at the end of a scholarly article. These references connect a scholarly article to the larger field of research and demonstrate the evidence and other research that the work is based on. References are also a great place to look for additional sources on your topic.

Image that highlights various aspects of a scholarly journal article. It has been published in a scholarly journal; it has an overall serious, thoughtful tone; it's more than 10 pages in length; it has an abstract on the first page; it is organized by headings; there are citations throughout; and it has credentialed authors.