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Psychology

Evaluating Sources

When deciding which articles to use to support the ideas and arguments in your paper, keep the following criteria in mind:

Scope                    

  • What is the purpose of the resource and what does it contain?
  • Is the subject explored in depth?
  • What does it exclude?
  • Is it comprehensive?

Authority            

  • Is the author an expert in this field?
  • What is his/her relationship to the information contained in the source?
  • Has this author been cited by others?

Objectivity        

  • Does the information provided inform, explain, persuade?
  • Is the author's point of view impartial and objective?
  • Are counter-arguments acknowledged?
  • Does it contain facts, opinions, or biases?

Accuracy            

  • Are the results accurate and are they supported by the data and methodology presented?
  • Does this support or contradict other articles?
  • Are references to other works given?

Currency           

  • Is the content of the work up-to-date?
  • Is timeliness important?

Adapted from Hanover College Library

What is Peer Review?

Peer review is the process by which scholars critically appraise each other's work. It is intended to ensure a high level of scholarship in a journal and to improve the quality and readability of a manuscript. Peer reviewed and refereed are the same.

How it works

When the manuscript of an article is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, independent experts are asked to read and comment on the manuscript. If approved by the reviewers, the manuscript is accepted for publication as an article in the journal. 

diagram of peer review process

(Image source)

How Do I Tell?

How do you know if a journal article is peer-reviewed? Some databases allow you to limit to peer-reviewed articles; for others, you'll need to need to look up the journal title in Ulrich's.

1. Go to Ulrich's:  Click to open Ulrich's.

 

2. Type the JOURNAL TITLE (not the article title) into the search box, and click the green search button.

 search ulrichs for journal title

3. In the search results, look for a referee jersey icon to indicate that a journal is refereed, which is a synonym for peer-reviewed.

look for referee jersey icon in search results

 

4. Or you can click on a journal to see the full record. If it says Refereed Yes, then you know the journal (and the articles published in it) are refereed/peer-reviewed.

peer reviewed journals will say yes, refereed.

 5. The Journal of Infectious Diseases IS peer reviewed.