Q. How do I find scholarly, peer-reviewed articles?

What is a scholarly or peer-reviewed article? I need to find one!


When you search for articles in a database, you often will have the option to select "scholarly journal" or "peer reviewed" at the time you put in your search terms. Be sure to look for that option! It's usually a checkbox you can use, and sometimes you will see it after you search in a limiting or refining set of options.


peer reviewed filter



What does "peer-reviewed" or "scholarly" or "refereed" mean? Why are peer-reviewed articles so important when I'm putting together the evidence and support I need for my research assignments?

Scholarly journals are used in university or research settings by faculty members, researchers, and students. They are written for an academic and research audience of readers. Rather than a casual news report, or an in-depth popular magazine article, these are reports on original research or theoretical exploration, complete with discussions of methodology, presentations of results, and recommendations for further research. 

The articles within a peer-reviewed journal undergo an in-depth review process by a panel of experts in the specific subject area before publication. The strict review and publication guidelines bring a high level of credibility to the author's research. This short video describes the peer review process. Because of the rigorous review involved in researching and writing to the standards necessary for publication in these kinds of journals, professors often prefer these articles as source material for your research assignments.

If you find a journal article and you're not sure if it's peer-reviewed, CSUDH offers Ulrichsweb, an online directory of serials/periodicals/journals, to use to check the status of a journal title. Search for a journal title in this database (not the article title, but the title of the journal in which it appears). For example, I want to check that the "Journal of Occupational Science" is really peer-reviewed. If it is peer-reviewed, it will be marked "Refereed" with this symbol:

screen shot of ulrichs web showing icon for 'refereed'

Great! This is a peer-reviewed journal.

You can also ask your professor or a librarian for assistance; we're here to help!

  • Last Updated Mar 20, 2018
  • Views 4157
  • Answered By Joanna Kimmitt

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