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.

SOWK 275 Introduction to Social Work Practice:: Getting Started

Dr. Pam Reid, Spring Semester 2020



WHAT IT IS? Peer-reviewed journals (also called refereed journals), are journals that use a specific scholarly review process to try to ensure the accuracy and reliability of published articles.

If you are asked to find articles that are peer-reviewed, what you are really looking for are articles from a peer-reviewed journal

Peer-reviewed journals may also contain items that are not peer reviewed, such as letters to the editor and book reviews. When searching in databases, even if you check the peer-review limiter box, you still need to examine the articles carefully to be sure they are peer-reviewed articles.


After an article is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication,

  1. The editor(s) sends it to several peer reviewerstypically scholars/experts in that field of study and has them review the article for accuracy and reliability.
  2. These peer reviewers examine the paper's methodology, literature review, and conclusions. They note bias or other flaws. The peer reviewers may accept the article, require rewrites from the authors, or reject the article. 

There are different types of peer-review. For example, in a single blind review, the names of the reviewers are not known to the author(s). The reviewers do know the name of the author(s).

How to Search in Databases for PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES


1. Go to the database(s) you want to search. Remember that recommended databases are on the subject guides (e.g., Social Work)
2. Conduct a search and look for the limiters/filters for peer-reviewed or peer-reviewed journals. 

Some databases have it labeled as "Peer Reviewed Scholarly Journals" or "Peer Reviewed" or   "Peer Reviewed Journals." The filter/limiter option will be in different places on the search page in the different databases. You may need to scroll down the page a bit.
NOTE: Not all databases will provide a filter/limiter for "peer reviewed" publications.

3. Apply the limiters/filters by selecting the limiter/filter box. Illustration shows a filter/limiter box option. 

Verifying if a JOURNAL is peer-reviewed

Quick way to determine if the journal is peer-reviewed?

1. Search for the title of the journal on Google or another browser to find the official website of the journal.
2. Read the journal's review process to determine if the journal is peer-reviewed. This information is usually found in the Aims & Scope or Journal Information sections on the journal's website.

Other ways to determine if a journal is peer-reviewed:

1. Search the Ulrich's periodicals directory, a directory that provides information about each periodical such as publisher, scope, and whether the journal uses peer review/refereed.
2. Search for the journal title.

Marilia Antunez

Profile Photo
Marilia Antúnez
I'm happy to make an appointment to meet with you via MS Teams, chat, phone, or in-person at Bierce Library.
The University of Akron
Bierce Library 178C
Akron, OH 44325