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John M. Flaxman Library SAIC School of the Art Institute of Chicago

How to Find Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed Sources

What is a "Scholarly" Journal?

scholarly journal is one of the primary places where scholars and other experts in an academic field exchange ideas, publish new research and findings, and engage with each other in discussions.  An article that is published in a scholarly journal is identifiable by the following features:‚Äč

  • Its author is a researcher or expert in a field whose credentials are listed
  • Its audience consists of other scholars, professionals, or students familiar with a field
  • Its language is often complex and academic, and uses terminology and jargon specific to a field
  • Its content gives a primary account of original research or an in-depth analysis of issues in a field
  • It contains references in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citations, as well as a bibliography or list of works cited
  • It is peer-reviewed

*This list was inspired by lists on other library websites, particularly that of Lindsey Wharton at Florida State University

What does "Peer-Reviewed" Mean?

Peer-review refers to the rigorous process that articles undergo before they may be published.  Other scholars in the author's field or discipline review and evaluate the article for quality and validity.  If lacking, the article may be rejected, but otherwise, the article is accepted, often with suggestions for revision.