How to Find Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Terms & Definitions

Scholar: A highly educated specialist who conducts research in a particular branch of study

Periodical: A type of publication produced as an open-ended series at regular intervals, or “periods,” such as daily, monthly, quarterly or annually

Scholarly/Academic Journal: A type of periodical that includes original research articles written by researchers and experts in a particular academic discipline, providing a forum for the production and critique of knowledge

Research Article: A formally written article that describes new knowledge or ideas based on original research, analysis and/or interpretation

Peer Review: The process by which scholars critically evaluate each other's research article prior to publication in an academic journal.

Editor: An individual who reviews, corrects, and determines the final content of a publication<

Scholarly Communication:"The system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and informal channels, such as electronic listservs" (ACRL)



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 (LLC) 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 written by researchers and experts,
  • Publishes additional forms of scholarly communication such as book reviews, editorials, conference proceedings, debate pieces,and interviews.

Below are three examples of scholarly journals available in the library's databases:

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:

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