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Research Guides

WRR103: Writing Essays

Peer Review is....

  • the process by which scholars critically appraise each other's work to ensure a high level of scholarship in a journal and to improve the quality and readability of a manuscript. 
  • applied to both primary articles (i.e. articles which present findings from original research) and review articles that summarize primary research. 

Note:    'Peer reviewed' and 'refereed' are synonyms.

Identifying Articles in Peer-Review Journals

What is peer review?

When research is submitted for publication, if often goes through a process called peer review to ensure it meets quality standards. Other experts in the field will check the research for any problems related to its premise, methodology, data/evidence, argumentation/logic, and conclusions. Research will only appear in peer-reviewed publications once this process has been completed and any the authors have made any necessary revisions.

By using peer-reviewed (or refereed) research in your assignment, you can trust that the sources you use to strengthen your argument are reliable and trustworthy, making your own research stronger.

How can I check whether a source has been peer reviewed?

1) UofT LibrarySearch

The easiest way to check the peer review status of your sources is when you are first searching for them in LibrarySearch. Keep an eye out for the Peer Review tag—this means the source has gone through the process.

See above for instructions on using the Peer-reviewed filter in LibrarySearch.

Screenshot showing the peer review tag for the article "He Said, She Said: Gender and Academic/Professional Writing"

 

2) Databases

If you are searching in a database, you may also be able to narrow results by peer review status. Note: not all databases allow you to filter by peer review status.

Here, you can see the peer review filter in the ProQuest advanced search interface:

Screenshot showing the advanced search peer review filter in the Proquest database interface.

You can also filter by peer review status on the search results page:

Screenshot showing the peer review filter in the Proquest database interface search results.

 

 

3) UlrichsWeb

If you are searching a database that does not allow you to filter by peer review status or are unsure whether a source you have found is peer reviewed, you should consult UlrichsWeb, a directory of serial publications like scholarly journals. Make sure you search for the journal your articles appears in, not the name of the article.

When you have found the journal, look for the peer review mark, which looks like a referee jersey:

Screenshot of the UlrichsWeb entry for the Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing, showing peer review status.

 

 

For more instructions on using UlrichsWeb:

UofT Mississauga Library Video on accessing Ulrichweb via LibrarySearch. You can use one of the campus search pages or UofT Libraries home page to search for Ulrichsweb.

 

This page is borrowed and adapted with appreciation from the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP) Guide created by Rob Makinson, Liaison Librarian for ISUP program at UofT Mississauga Library. 

Limit Your Search Results to Peer-Reviewed Articles

Many library databases include  a peer-reviewed filter which you can select to limits your search results to articles published in scholarly journals that use a peer-review editorial process  Find examples below. Questions?   Ask for assistance at your library.     

LibrarySearch
  • Submit your search in UofT LibrarySearch and select "Peer-reviewed Articles" from the filter options on the left side of the screen. 

Submit your search in UofT LibrarySearch and select "Peer-reviewed Articles" from the filter options.

 

Proquest

Submit your search in Proquest and select "Peer-reviewed Articles" from the filter options on the left side of the screen.

Select peer review on the left side of your search results