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Research help

This guide will help you at all stages of the research process, from choosing a topic to citing your sources.

Why does your instructor want you to use peer-reviewed articles?

Your instructors expect you to use true, reliable, and authoritative information in your college-level assignments. The gold standard of good information in higher education is the peer-reviewed article. Peer-reviewed articles bring together existing information in the field, go in depth about specific topics, and are written by experts. In short, they are guaranteed* to be true, reliable, and authoritative.

Learn about peer-reviewed articles below.

What are peer-reviewed articles?

Peer-reviewed articles are published with the intent of sharing new research and information from specialized fields with researchers, professionals, and students. The process of peer review helps to ensure that each published article is unique, accurate, credible, and objective. Peer-reviewed articles can be published in print journals, online journals, and academic and research organizations’ websites.

Characteristics of a Peer-Reviewed Article

  • Information is organized into sections with headings: Abstract, introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and references.
  • Usually long and in-depth; 10-20 pages is normal.
  • Includes graphs or tables but few, if any, images or advertisements.
  • Includes specialized or field-specific language.
  • Information is presented objectively, without bias.
  • Includes reference lists and in-text citations.
  • Published quarterly or semi-annually.

Purpose

  • Inform other scholars and students in higher education of new research and findings.

Authorship

  • Experts in their fields: researchers conducting primary research, practitioners, professors and scholars. Credentials are either provided in the article or easy to access.
  • Often an organization will publish a journal (e.g., the American Medical Association publishes JAMA and the Archives of Internal Medicine.)

CCC Library catalog: Limit to peer-reviewed articles

  1. Go to CCC Library's homepage.
  2. Perform a search using topic-related search terms in the CCC Library catalog search box.
  3. Select Search.
  4. Select Sign in and log in using your myClackamas email and password.
  5. Find the section titles Availability
    Primo Availability refining tool.
  6. Select the Peer-reviewed journals link.
    Link to limit to Peer-reviewed journals.
  7. Wait for the page to refresh.
  8. Voila! All search results come from peer-reviewed journals.

EBSCO: Limit to peer-reviewed articles

  1. EBSCO logo.Go to CCC Library's A-Z Database list.
  2. Select an EBSCO database.
  3. Perform a search using topic-related search terms in an EBSCO database.
  4. Look at the left-hand column on your results page.
  5. Find the section titled Limit To.
  6. Mark the box labeled Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.
  7. Wait for the page to refresh.
  8. Voila! All search results come from peer-reviewed journals.

Gale: Limit to peer-reviewed articles

  1. Gale logo.Go to CCC Library's A-Z Database list.
  2. Select a Gale database.
  3. Perform a search using topic-related search terms in a Gale database.
  4. Look at the right-hand column on your results page.
  5. Find the section titled Limit Search by.
  6. Mark the box labeled Peer Reviewed Journals.
  7. Wait for the page to refresh.
  8. Voila! All search results come from peer-reviewed journals.

How to skim peer-reviewed articles

Taking notes on a peer-reviewed research article

Reading peer-reviewed, academic research articles is not easy. Identifying pertinent information, distinguishing articles from one another, and recalling what you read will get more routine with time and practice. To help you with that process, use this template to organize your thoughts. Rereading your notes will be way easier than rereading an entire article!

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