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PSY - Psychology (WO)


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Peer Review

Many scholarly journals use a process called peer review.

  • Before an article can be published, scholars in the author's field (the author's peers) must critically evaluate it.
  • Peer review is a kind of quality control.
  • Most databases have a checkbox to limit to only peer reviewed articles.
  • Peer-reviewed articles are not always better than non peer-reviewed ones.  It depends on your topic and assignment.

Peer Review Box

Research Tips

Keep your search simple.  Use only 2 or 3 keywords.

Look at your number of results. 
Too Many: Add keywords or be more specific.
Too Few: Change keywords or make them more broad.

Ask for help!  Librarians are happy to help!

Evaluating Results

How do you decide which articles from the results list are worth clicking?

Academic Search Complete Results PageThe title (Box 1) gives you an idea of what the article is about. The icon shown in Box 2 indicates the type of source - academic journal, newspaper, etc. Publication information (Box 3) tells you when, where and by whom the article was published. The abstract (or summary) comes immediately after and gives more detail on what the article is about. Finally, subject terms (Box 4) tell you what major topics are discussed in the article.

What If You Get Bad Results?

1. If you get very few articles, your keywords might be too specific.   

    Instead of:  elementary school children who eat Doritos
children AND junk food

2. If you get too many articles covering different aspects of the topic, your keywords might be too general.

    Instead of:     plants 
invasive plants

3. Article authors may have used slightly different words. 

    For example, instead of electric cars, they may have used electric vehicles.