Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Introduction to Nursing: 8200:100: Peer-Review

Nursing Faculty: Cheryl Buchanan, Fall 2021

How do I find the Author's Credentials?

For our Career Interest Paper, when using CINAHL, we can limit our search to works written by authors who are nurses (see CINAHL limiting options below).

An author's educational credentials (e.g. RN, BSN, or MSN, PhD) can also appear in many different places for different journals. Places that credentials can be found includes, but is not limited to

  • after the author's name  on the title page,
  • in the footnotes of the first page,
  • in another block of information that describes the affiliation of the authors usually on the first page, or
  • on the last page before the references.

Look for the IMRaD elements in Peer-Reviewed Articles

Primary research articles (also called empirical/clinical studies or research articles) contain firsthand information or original data on a topic that is not interpreted, evaluated, or analyzed.  These articles also include components or a variation of these components: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (known as the IMRaD format). 
Primary research articles are usually peer-reviewed (
i.e. article was critically evaluated by experts in the field before accepted for publication).

Determining if an article is peer-reviewed

How do I know if it is Peer Reviewed?

Why Peer-Review Matters

What is the Peer Review Process and Why it Matters?
According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, "peer review is the critical assessment of manuscripts submitted to journals by experts who are usually not part of the editorial staff. Because unbiased, independent, critical assessment is an intrinsic part of all scholarly work, including scientific research, peer review is an important extension of the scientific process." (ICMJE, 2017)

When searching the literature, be sure to choose peer-reviewed publications. The peer review process gives articles more authority. Keep in mind that not every item indexed in a peer-reviewed journal is an article (e.g. book reviews, letters).

Please note that not all scholarly/academic publications include peer-reviewed articles. See sample publications below.

                Scholarly Journal                         Trade/Professional Magazines 
(may or may not be peer-reviewed)             (usually not peer-reviewed)


Nursing (Nursing2017) is a peer-reviewed journal containing some peer-reviewed articles. The other trade/professional publications will likely not include peer-reviewed articles.

Nursing Review is a trade/professional publication with non-peer-reviewed articles including monthly features, topical opinion pieces, news articles, and profiles in the field of Nursing.


Is it Scholarly?

When trying to determine if an article would be considered "scholarly," look at the following characteristics:

  • Length: The article is usually several pages long, and can, at times, be as long as 20 to 30 pages.
  • Author: There is always an author or group of authors listed. The author(s) usually have credentials or affiliations listed.
  • Audience: The intended audience is other experts, researchers, and students in the field.
  • Refereed: Articles may be “refereed,” or reviewed by peers prior to being accepted for publication.
  • Illustrations: The article may include maps, tables, and graphs that support the text. Colorful photographs are rarely used.
  • References: The article always includes citations to research discussed in the article in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies.
  • Language: Look for vocabulary that would be used in the author’s field or discipline.
  • Format: The article follows a standardized format (APA, MLA, etc.).
  • Title: Keep in mind that not all scholarly journals have “Journal” in the title (although many do). Also, not every source that has “Journal” in the title is actually scholarly. (Example: Ladies Home Journal)