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A refereed journal, or peer reviewed journal, is a specific type of publication that meets the high standards and rigor expected with academic publishing. Refereed articles within the journal have been reviewed by a blind editorial panel for rigor in research and appropriateness of conclusions.
Refereed sources enable you to start with the assumption that the information within is vetted, reducing the need to evaluate how factual and accurate the article is.
The Anatomy of a Scholarly Source
Most refereed articles contain the following sections. Some include all, others combine some, and yet other articles might include only a few. Look for these sections when judging whether an article is scholarly.
Introduction or literature review
Purpose of the study or problem statement
Methodology, procedures, or research design
Major findings, results, analysis, or discussion
Summary, conclusion, implications, or ideas for future studies
Works cited or references
Tables, charts, figures, and statistical data (throughout the article)
Peer Review in 3 Minutes
This video is provided courtesy of North Carolina State University Libraries.
Qualities of a Scholarly Source
Most refereed articles can be identified by the qualities you note throughout the writing. Here are a few to look for:
Audience: The target audience is other researchers, colleagues, and specialists in the field. Research articles are written for the scholarly audience, rather than a general one. You may need to read the article a few times to fully understand it.
Authors: Research articles may have several authors. You will easily be able to determine the academic affiliations of the authors, as well as their role within the organization.
Language: Refereed articles are formal, generally do not use the first person, and include jargon used in the field.
Length: Refereed articles can vary in length, but are typically ten to fifty pages long.
Topic: Research articles are specific in nature, relate to a particular field, or specialty within a field.