Library Tip: What Are Peer-Reviewed Articles?

Mar 13, 2019   |   Student, Success Tips
Library Tip: What Are Peer-Reviewed Articles? Image

Terms like “peer-reviewed articles,” “academic articles,” or “scholarly articles” are often used in virtual and on-campus classrooms. As a college student conducting research for discussion boards, presentations, and papers, you should know what these articles are or how to locate them in the CTU online library. Here are a few pointers for new and returning CTU students on identifying peer-reviewed articles in the CTU Library.

Peer-Reviewed and Academic Articles

Peer-reviewed, academic, and scholarly articles are all essentially the same – they are articles from academic or scholarly journals that have gone through an official editorial process. This process usually involves a review phase and approval by the author's peers or people who are experts in the same subject area.1

First, an author’s work must first become classified as peer-reviewed. The publisher of an article submits a draft to a group of the author’s peers – other subject matter experts in the field of study. This process helps ensure the validity of the information prior to publication.2

During the review, the article is subjected to several quality tests.2 Questions are asked by each reviewer to evaluate the article as a means of judging the author’s quality of information and significance of research. Reviewers look at the article’s topic of research, significance, methodology, original findings, and logical conclusions.2

After the reviewers evaluate the information, the group then decides whether the article should move on to publication in the journal. If they believe the article is fit for publication, they can make a recommend to a journal’s editorial staff to publish.2

Examples of Peer-Reviewed and Non-Scholarly Articles

To gain a better understanding of articles that are peer-reviewed and ones that are not, here are some examples of scholarly journals:

  • The American Economic Review
  • Journal of Marketing Research
  • The Political Quarterly
  • JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association Science

Examples of sources that are not scholarly include:1

  • Wikipedia
  • Investopedia
  • Businesstopia
  • Forbes Magazine
  • Inc.com
  • Time Magazine
  • BusinessWeek

How to Find Peer-Reviewed Articles in the CTU Library

Many CTU courses require the use of peer-reviewed articles, and the CTU Library provides a way to find and filter results using several library databases. For example, students can find peer-reviewed articles on the Library’s EBSCO databases for healthcare management research via tools like CINAHL, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), Medline, and Nursing Reference Center.3

To begin an online search for peer-reviewed articles, students can visit the Library tab in the CTU Virtual Campus. Under e-Resources, find the “Find Articles and eBooks” link. An alphabetical list of library databases will appear. If you scroll through and select “EBSCO-All,” you can then search through all of the library databases hosted by EBSCO.3

When the search screen opens, you can enter in phrases or individual words related to your topic. After you select the “Search” button, a list of results will appear. Before scrolling through the results, you can narrow the search by choosing options like “Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals” in the “Refined Results” menu.3

Contact a CTU Librarian for Assistance

The CTU online library collection consists of over 500 million articles, 40,000 e-books, and thousands of hours of video on degree program subjects. If you are a CTU student and need library assistance, please email librarian@coloradotech.edu or call 1-866-813-1836 (ext. 13721). Librarians are available Monday from 9:00 am to 8:00pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (CST). Our library resources are available to students 24/7 by logging into the Virtual Campus and clicking “Library.”


1. “Peer Reviewed, Scholarly, and Academic Resources.” Colorado Technical University Library. Published February 9, 2019. Accessed February 11, 2019. https://careered.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=38055916
2. “Peer Review in Three Minutes.” NC State University. Published April 2014. Accessed February 11, 2019. https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/tutorials/peerreview/
3. “Finding Scholarly Articles in Library Databases in Healthcare Management Topics.” Colorado Technical University Learning Solutions, VIMEO. Published 2018. Accessed February 11, 2019. http://careered.libguides.com/university_CTUOnline/healthcareresearch

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