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Peer-Review: Guide Home

What is a Peer-Reviewed Source

Peer review assesses the validity, quality, and originality of articles for publication. Peer review aims to maintain integrity in scientific fields and specific guidelines need to be followed for an article to be published. Journal editors, experts in the field the article is about, look to ensure what was written is quality research that will further the scholarly work in that field. They work to ensure that the journal articles are reliable sources. Essentially, peer review is another term for quality control in the academic field. A panel of reviewers who are experts on the topic assess the author’s use of research methods and significance regarding contribution to existing literature.

How do peer-reviewed articles differ from popular publications?

Articles from more popular publications (e.g. magazines, newspapers, websites, etc.) might not be treated to the same level of editing. While they might be checked for grammar, factual accuracy might be more lacking. Articles from sources such as these are not adequate to support academic-level research. Articles written for popular publications tend to be written for a broader audience; meaning, the tone of the article will be more casual and language will be simpler so more readers can understand the content. Peer-reviewed articles, on the other hand, are written for experts and in a more formal tone.

Popular publication articles usually do not have citations within the article or a list of references at the end. Peer-reviewed works will always have cited sources and a list of references at the end. This means that a peer-reviewed article will have more integrity and value.

Another large difference is the publishing process. Popular publications might be edited but do not have any specific guidelines for publication. Peer-reviewed, however, has specific guidelines based on the journal publishing the article.



  1. The first few pages will contain information on the submission process and editorial board.
  2. Published by a professional organization or association.
  3. There will not be any graphics.
  4. Authors are listed at the beginning of the article with affiliated institutions.
  5. Abstracts will be at the beginning detailing the research.
  6. Terminology specific to the field will be used and not defined.
  7. There will be a list of references at the end of the article.

Peer review is important because it helps ensure that the research papers you are writing are using high-quality sources from reputable journals. The article has gone through a rigorous review, meaning it has validity and significance in the field you are researching. Academic communities might not accept a scientific hypothesis if it has not been peer-reviewed. Scientific discoveries can have great implications on society, which is why articles go through much scrutiny before publication, so the articles you use in your research papers are the best work you can find.

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