It is an expectation, especially in advanced degree programs, for students to use a peer-reviewed source for their research.  Students often do not even know what peer-reviewed means and especially how to be certain that the article they chose is peer-reviewed.  Here are some helps for those student puzzlements.

In this series, Jule Kind, Director of Off Campus Library Services (OCLS), and fellow librarians share about some of the most used library resources. OCLS functions within Jackson Library to provide a variety of research tools for onsite and online students in the College of Adult and Professional Studies (CAPS).

Baroque Library

What is Peer-Review/Refereed?  

OCLS has provided a teaching tool for explaining peer-review.

How to Find Peer-Reviewed Articles

Many of our databases allow for the option of “limiting” the search results to peer-reviewed.  Some examples of this are: Academic Search Complete, ATLA, Business Source Complete, CINAHL, ABI/INFORM Complete, and ProQuest Nursing Journals.  Some that do not provide an option for limiting or do not have peer-reviewed content are LexisNexis, Wall Street Journal, and Christian Periodical Index.

How to Ensure a Journal Is Peer-Reviewed 

The best method to ensure an article is peer-reviewed is to use a specific database, Ulrich’s Periodical Directory.  This is used primarily by libraries to find information about journals, their publishers, indexing and availability. One of its big helps is to label a journal as refereed or not.

I prefer to use the Advanced Search so I can specifically search by the journal title.  When the results appear, the journal will populate at the top of the list.  A couple of columns to the left of the journal title that give librarians necessary information.

The Referee's Shirt

For the student, all they need to look for is the referee’s black and white striped shirt in one of the middle columns. Seeing that shirt is all the information the student needs to verify that an article from Journal of Business Ethics is a peer-reviewed or refereed article.

Ulrich's Periodical Directory is available under the General Resources category of the database list. It may take a few extra steps, but if the requirement of the assignment involves the use of peer-reviewed articles, this last method is the surest way to feel confident about meeting the requirements of the assignment.

Question: What benefits can you see for your students with Ulrich's Periodical Directory? Please leave a comment below.

Jule Kind / Director, Off Campus Library Services

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