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REL 2321: Prophets, Founders, and Saints: 5: Evaluate!

Check - Is It Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed?

Step 5: Use Scholarly (Academic), Peer-Reviewed Sources.

Next you need to be sure your sources are OK for college level research.

  • College level research requires that you use "Scholarly" or "Academic" sources.  These are books, journal articles, and conference proceedings that are written by scholars for scholars.  Which means they were written for you!
  • Peer-reviewed scholarly (or academic) journals have articles that are reviewed by other scholars before they are published, so you know the information is good.
  • Learn more in the box below left, find out how to check your journal for peer-review in the lower center box, and learn to use PsychINFO tools to return only peer-reviewed results in the lower right box.


Different Types of Periodicals

Periodicals - any type of source that is printed regularly with new articles each time.

Popular periodicals are the kind you would buy to read for fun. They may have some value for research, depending on the topic, but do not include references so you can check the facts.

Scholarly/Academic periodicals are written for and by people who work in academics: professors, researchers, undergraduate or graduate students. This type of article is best suited for your research because it is reliable and authoritative. Many of these are peer-reviewed.

Trade publications are written by specialists in an industry for people in that industry. While sources are mentioned, they are rarely formally cited. These are not considered scholarly sources.

Look on this page for more information about how to decide what type of periodical it is!

Types of Resources

Is this web page scholarly?

Evaluate a web page by checking...

  • ACCURACY: Identify the source of the information. For example, is it posted by a major professional organization or governmental agency? Web address domain names provide a start (.com — commercial/business; .edu — educational; .org — organization; .gov — governmental).*
  • AUTHORITY: Research the author in a scholarly database.  Have they written anything else on the subject that was peer-reviewed?  Verify the facts, statistics or quotes on the web page in another source.
  • OBJECTIVITY: Look for bias - you can do this by understanding the purpose of the site and who the intended audience is.
  • CURRENCY: Check to see when the page was last updated. If you can't find a date, consider using a different source.
  • COVERAGE: Is the material on the website cited correctly, and are any included links evaluated?

*NOTE: An essay or statistic posted on the American Heart Association, university website, or U.S. Department of Justice pages can be viewed as more reliable than if you find a similar item on a personal or commercial web page. 

Peer Reviewed?


If you have a journal and you need to check if it is peer reviewed, use the Ulrich's Periodical Directory database.

  • Enter the name of the journal in the search bar, then look for the little referee's jersey icon or the line that says "Refereed: Yes." "Refereed" is just another way of saying "peer reviewed," so if you see either or both of those things, your journal is peer reviewed.
  • If you don't see the icon or if the description of the journal says "Refereed: No," that journal is not peer reviewed.

Start Your Research: Limit To Peer-Reviewed

Limit to peer-reviewed articles in Start Your Research:

  • On your results list page, there's a column on the left titled "Refine Results".
  • Click on the box next to "Peer-Reviewed.
  • You're done!