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How Do I Find Peer-Reviewed Articles?

What are peer-reviewed articles and how do I find them?

Video Tutorial

View a video tutorial to learn more about scholarly Peer Review.

After watching the video, be sure to see the How Do I Identify Peer-Reviewed Articles section for additional information on locating peer-reviewed articles.

Watch video

What is Peer Review?

Peer review is a process where an article goes through critical evaluation by subject experts in the field.

The article is evaluated on its research methodology, literature review, discussion, results and conclusions before it is published. If an article does not meet the criteria, it will not be published. Peer-reviewed articles are considered the “gold standard” in academic publishing.

Articles may also be called scholarly, refereed or juried. See our What are Peer-reviewed Journals video at left for more help.

Note: You will find very few peer reviewed journals for free on the open Web.  Only about 8% publish open access.  Fortunately, the Capella Library subscribes to dozens of research databases with 10,000s of peer reviewed journals and millions of scholarly articles, targeted toward Capella learner needs.

How can I identify peer-reviewed articles?

Step One:

Peer-reviewed articles are only published in peer-reviewed journals, so the first thing you will need to do is limit your search to peer-reviewed journals, or if you have already found an article, determine if it came from a peer-reviewed journal. 

  • I don't have article yet, and need to search for one: See the Limit to Peer-Review page of this guide to see what databases peer-reviewed journals are available in, and how to limit to peer-reviewed journals from those databases.
  • I already have an article, and need to determine if it is peer-reviewed: See the Is This Journal Peer-Reviewed? tab to see how to check if a specific journal is peer-reviewed.

Step Two:

Keep in mind, not everything published in a peer-reviewed journal has gone through the peer-review process. Editorials, news notes, and book reviews are published without peer review. Once you have found an article from a peer-reviewed journal, or determined your article came from a peer-reviewed journal, use the checklist below to determine if the article itself would be considered peer-reviewed.

An article will not say or be labeled that it is peer-reviewed, however, if it matches most of the following characteristics, it is most likely a peer-reviewed article. 

Does it match most of the following characteristics?

ALWAYS comes from a peer-reviewed journal (See the Limit to Peer-Review page)

ALWAYS includes references, footnotes or a bibliography of works cited

Article is longer than 5 pages

Reports new academic research studies, including methodology and data analysis

Gives author’s title, affiliation, and usually contact information

Very few advertisements or images in print or PDF version

  • Note: Not every article in a peer-reviewed journal has undergone peer review. Editorials, news notes and book reviews are published without peer review.