What is Peer Review?

Scholarly journals have a panel of experts in the field who review articles submitted for publication in the journal.  The reviewers can determine whether to accept an article, require revisions prior to publication, or reject an article. In this way the journal ensures that new articles are scholarly, and build on the knowledge in that subject area.


How do I Know if an Article is Peer-Reviewed?

Research articles are written for scholars or experts in the field, and include technical terminology specific to that field.  Research articles typically are divided into sections:  an Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion, and have extensive bibliographies/Works Cited lists.  Peer reviewed articles may also be called refereed, or scholarly.

Some serious journals in Political Science and International Affairs contain analysis or commentary, but are not technically peer-reviewed research journals (for example, Foreign Affairs).

Edited books containing chapters by numerous authors are also a source for authoritative articles. Often these books are thematic, that is, covering a particular topic. A Keyword  search in the JMU Catalog can locate articles in these edited books, by searching the chapter headings located in the Contents notes in the catalog record.

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