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How to Read Academic Articles: Home


What are Peer-Reviewed/Scholarly Works?

Scholarly or academic journal articles always have a few traits in common:

1. They are written by experts in their field- look for an author's credentials (for example, what type of degree do they hold and where did they receive it) and affiliations (where do they currently work).

2. They are written for other experts and people in academia (that's where you come in), because of this, these articles use technical, disciple-specific language.

3. They provide verifiable and reliable evidence for claims and always list references.

4. They are often (but not always) peer-reviewed. QuickSearch has a handy feature to filter for peer-reviewed articles which you can see here:


This guide was designed by Samantha Mead, as part of her work as a Graduate Student at SJSU. 

Why is Peer-Review Important?

Here is a simple video explanation from the University of Kansas Libraries.

  • Many times, your professors will be expecting you to use peer-reviewed articles in your work-sometimes specifically asking you NOT to use sources that haven't been peer-reviewed.
  • Peer review helps to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information contained in an article.
  • Peer review is like a book going through the editing process, it catches writing errors that when corrected can make reading easier for consumers.

Further Resources


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Samantha Peter
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How do I know if something is Peer-Reviewed?

  • Go ahead, utilize that handy "peer-reviewed" filter feature on QuickSearch- that's what it is there for!
  • Not using QuickSearch or a database that has this type of filter? That's ok! Find what journal the article was published in. Visit that journal's homepage & look for a section titled "About this journal" or similar. Within that section, it should state if the journal is peer-reviewed. Here is an example: