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A Guide to Comparative Cultural Studies and Humanities Research: Evaluating Sources: Peer Reviewed

What is a Peer Reviewed Journal?

In a peer reviewed journal (also known as refereed) drafts of articles are critically assessed by other scholars in the author's field or specialty before they are accepted for publication. Peer review is the accepted method for ensuring that information is of the highest quality.

Just because a journal is peer reviewed does not guarantee that all articles in it are included in the peer review process. Some article types, such as news items, editorials and book and article reviews, may not be peer reviewed.

Confirming that a Journal is Peer Reviewed

Want to find out if a particular journal is peer reviewed? You can look it up in UlrichsWeb Global Serials Directory.

ulrichs web logo

Once you find an entry for the journal title in UlrichsWeb, look at the symbols on the left and see if there is a symbol for a referee shirt like those worn by sports referees:

referee jersey

If you find this symbol that means the journal is refereed, which is another way of saying it is peer reviewed.

Scholarly Vs Popular

What is a Magazine? What is a Journal?

What is a Magazine? What is a Journal?

Examples: Time, Life, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Popular Science


Examples: Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of the American Medical Association, American Sociological Review, Journal of Psychology

Audience: General public to knowledgeable layperson Audience: Scholars, specialists, and students


Written by: Professional journalists; not necessarily specialists in the field; poets and writers of fiction, essayists

Written by: Specialists in the field; usually scholars with PhDs.

Timeliness: More current than books Timeliness: More current than books


Content: Popular topics; current affairs; general discussion; editorial opinion; graphics; photographs; advertisements; usually no bibliography or list of sources

Content: Research results, frequently theoretical in nature; detailed examination; statistical analysis; graphics; bibliography usually included
Primary Source: First hand accounts; original reporting; etc. Primary Source: Reports of original research; case studies; clinical studies; etc.
Slant: May reflect the editorial bias / slant of the magazine


Slant: Supposed to present objective/neutral viewpoint; may be difficult to comprehend because of technical language or jargon; often sponsored by professional associations

Magazines are often sold on the newsstand and in many cases may have a more graphic look with more advertising and photographs and slicker paper.

Journals are often produced by the academic community; sometimes they are a benefit of membership to a society or organization. In many cases journals may have a more scholarly appearance.