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ENGB05: Critical Writing about Literature

A guide to assist ENGB05 students with finding and using library resources to complete a major literary research essay.

What are peer-reviewed articles?

What is a peer-reviewed journal article?

Articles in peer-reviewed journals are reviewed by a group of the writer's peers (aka other academics in his/her field) before the articles are published.  You will almost always be required to use peer-reviewed journal articles for your university essays because they are considered authoritative.

A synonym for peer-reviewed is refereed

You may also hear the term scholarly journal.  Most journals defined as 'scholarly' are peer-reviewed but NOT all of them.  (For example, a journal may have very academic content and be widely respected by the university community but not be peer-reviewed.)  If you're not sure whether your instructor wants peer-reviewed articles or scholarly articles, be sure to ask him/her for clarification. 


Why use peer-reviewed articles for your university essay?

Peer-reviewed journal articles are considered strong authoritative sources of academic information.  Therefore, using this articles can help improve the quality of your essay.


How do I know if the article I've found is from a peer-reviewed journal?

Article databases will often let you limit to peer-reviewed journals.  You can also check Ulrich's to make sure any article you've found is from a peer-reviewed journal. (Ulrich's is an online directory which will tell you whether a journal is peer-reviewed or not.)

Peer Review

How do you know if the articles in a journal are peer-reviewed?

Some databases allow you to limit to peer-reviewed articles. For other databases, you can find this info from the Get It! page or you can look up the title of the journal in Ulrichsweb.

Type the JOURNAL TITLE (not the article title) into the search box, and click search:


This is an example of a record in Ulrich's. "Refereed" is a synonym for "peer-reviewd"; Arab Studies Quarterly is a peer-reviewed journal: