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UGS 302: The Development of Moral Action / Repp

What does peer reviewed mean?

What does it mean when someone calls an article, scholarly, academic, or peer reviewed?

Articles that appear in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals are different than the articles you see in magazines, newspapers and on the Web. 

Ask yourself these questions to get you thinking about the differences between the types of information you might use as evidence.

  • Newspapers and magazines have a staff of editors.
    • Why do they choose to publish the articles that they do?
    • Who writes for magazines and newspapers?
    • How do you get access to these publications?
  • Academic journals are peer-reviewed before publication.
    • Who writes in these publications?
    • Who decides what gets published in these journals?
    • How do you get access to these publications?
  • Think of a source you read on the Web to get news or information.
    • Who writes for that source?
    • Who decides what gets hosted or posted on that site?
    • Do you pay for access to that site?
    • How do they make their money to employ staff and stay up and running?

Peer review - explained

When a researcher - or a team of researchers - completes their research project or study, they report their findings in academic journals.

Each discipline has journals familiar to researchers in that field. Experts in a field mostly read and write for the same journals, contributing to and building off of conversations.

The articles they write up are sent to a panel of the author(s) peers for review in a double blind process - the author and the reviewers do not know one another's identity. The reviewers send the article back to the author for suggested revisions and questions.

The reviewers are looking to see that the author is using methods familiar to the field in a reliable and ethical manner.

They are looking to see that the authors have engaged with the pre-exisiting research in the field and are building off of that research to take the topic into a new and meaningful direction.

Being published in an academic journal is prestigious, but it does not come with payment from the journal. In order to obtain tenure, faculty have to demonstrate their contributions to the field through articles published in top journals in their field.

You may access these articles through the subscriptions paid for on your behalf by the UT Libraries. Journals are organized by discipline and type in databases. UT Libraries purchases more collections than all but 9 libraries in the US.

Ask me if it's peer-reviewed

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Elise Nacca
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