How to Find Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Confused by scholarly, peer-reviewed sources?

This guide explains the peer review process, the identifying characteristics of a peer-reviewed article, and where you'll find scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles in the RGO Library & Learning Commons databases.

What is Peer Review?

Peer review is a publication process based on peer evaluation that ensures contributions made to the scholarly community are based on accurate, reliable, and original research findings and analysis:


University of California at Berkeley (n.d.). Scrutinizing science: Peer review [digital image]. Understanding Science. Retrieved from

Also called an academic or peer-reviewed journal, a scholarly journal:

       •  Is a type of periodical (a publication issued in regular periods, i.e. newspapers, magazines, etc.) that provides a forum for scholarly communication in a particular academic discipline,

       •  Publishes original, peer-reviewed research-based or theoretical articles are written by researchers and experts,

       •  Publishes additional forms of scholarly communication such as book reviews, editorials, conference proceedings, debate pieces, and interviews.


A scholarly, peer-reviewed journal article:

        •  Presents research studies and experiments or original theoretical analysis that advances what is understood or known in a specific subject area or discipline,

        •  Is written by the person(s) who conducted the research or analysis, who typically have advanced degrees, credentials, and/or academic positions,

        •  Often has a scientific format with sections and headings that follow the structure of a research study:



Purpose & Content:

Introduction or Objective

To present the research question(s) or problem and overall intention of the research study.

Background or Literature Review

To describe the current understanding and knowledge of the topic with a focus on how the study makes an important contribution.

Method(ology) or Research Design

To describe the procedures used to conduct the study, such as data collection and theoretical method for analysis of the data.

Results or Findings

To report on the new information and knowledge acquired through the research study

Discussion, Analysis and/or Conclusion

To summarize and interpret the implications of the results in the context of the topic or field as a whole, including areas where further research may be needed

In addition to the scientific format described in the previous tab, there are several common types of scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles.

Follow the links below to view examples of a systematic literature review, a case study, a theoretical research article, and a scientific research article from the library databases: