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SW 320U Introduction to Child Welfare: Identifying Peer Reviewed Research Articles

Scholarly, Professional, Popular?

There are three primary types of articles that serve as ways of disseminating information. Each serves different purposes and different audiences:

Scholarly research article: written by an expert in the field and reviewed by peers who are experts in the same area. In many databases, you can limit your search to scholarly, peer-reviewed or refereed journals to weed out any non-scholarly content.

Professional/Practice article - Professional magazines can have articles written by experts in the field or by staff writers. The articles are only reviewed by editors for style, so they go through a less rigorous review process. The articles often do not contain reference lists.

Popular magazine article - Written for a general audience rather than for professionals or scholars. Examples include Time, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone.

The Peer Review Process Video

Link to video about peer review process

3 minute video on the peer review process, created by the North Carolina State University Libraries: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/tutorials/pr/

Characteristics of a Scholarly Journal Article

Articles in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals have particular characteristics that can help you recognize them:

1. Author's name, position, affiliation (usually a university), and contact information are listed.

2. The article has clearly labeled sections. These section titles may vary, but usually include at least:

  • abstract
  • literature review
  • methods
  • results
  • discussion

3. The article has a list of cited references at the end.