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HST 330: Environmental Communication

A course guide highlighting Library resources related to topics covered in HST 330 Environmental Communication

What is Peer Review?

Not all scholarly journals are peer-reviewed journals.

  • Peer Reviewed Journals, also called Refereed Journals, are journals that before accepting an article for publication, require that the article is read and edited by a volunteer group of subject experts. These experts are unaware of who has written the article and are checking to ensure that the information contained within the article can be substantiated by the research that was carried out. After reviewing the article, the team of experts then recommends that the article be accepted, rejected or revised and resubmitted. All articles accepted for publication are expected to meet certain standards or levels of discipline within the field of study.   (Definition paraphrased from: What is Peer Review?, Brigitte Bell, University of St. Francis, LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Library; Accessed January 29, 2013)
  • A peer-reviewed journal is a special type of journal where articles are reviewed and selected by other academics and researchers prior to publication.  Peer-reviewed journals are often called research or refereed journals because they typically contain research results and reviewed articles for a specific scholarly field or discipline and have undergone a formal review process.  Peer-reviewed journals are an excellent example of scholarly sources of information.   (Definition quoted from: Library Lingo, Colorado State University Libraries Accessed March 7, 2011)

What are the characteristics of scholarly journal articles?

Most scholarly and peer-reviewed journal articles share the following characteristics:

  • Appearance: Largely black and white with limited images; if there are images, these are mostly charts and graphs.  The journal will have consecutive pages throughout.
  • Audience: University students, university faculty, researchers
  • Citations: Great in number (usually more than 25).  The sources are noted in footnotes or a list of references.
  • Content: Research findings, literature reviews, methodologies, theories and analyses.  Some peer-reviewed journals will include supplemental non-reviewed content, such as book reviews.
  • Purpose: To report original research, to review previous research

Where to find a scholarly or peer-reviewed journal: University and college libraries; subscription-based online databases

Examples: The Journal of the American Medical Association; Journal of Comparative Psychology; Journal of Applied Physics; Journal of Management Information Systems.

(Text adapted from: What is Peer Review?, Brigitte Bell, University of St. Francis, LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Library Accessed January 29, 2013)

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Courtney Walsh
Research & Instructional Services Librarian
Samuel C. Williams Library
Stevens Institute of Technology
T (201) 216-5411
F (201) 216-8319