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ARTS 1100 (2019-Summer: Fear)

What are peer-reviewed journal articles?

What is a peer-reviewed journal?

Peer-reviewed journals are often called scholarly or academic journals. They are different from popular magazines. See this comparison chart.

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

  • are written by experts for other experts
  • usually report on research
  • always include many in-text citations and a list of references or works cited by the author(s)
  • most importantly have been rigorously critiqued and reviewed by experts for quality before being published. This is called peer-review.

This short video from Vanderbilt University helps to explain the difference between scholarly journals and popular magazines and other periodicals.

Which of these items is a scholarly journal article?
Article 1: 6 votes (15%)
Article 2: 0 votes (0%)
Article 3: 34 votes (85%)
all: 0 votes (0%)
none: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 40

If you are not sure how to tell if a journal article is from a peer-reviewed journal, please see the library's guide to "Scholarly Journals: How Can You Tell?"

TIP: Remember that all scholarly journal articles are written by experts, and will include lots of in-text citations and a complete list of references at the end.

Research databases

Why use a database?

If database searching is new for you, learn the benefits of using them in your research, with this short video from Yavapai Community College Library.

Recommended databases

KPU Library subscribes to over 100 research databases covering different subjects and types of information. I've listed just a few below to get you started.

Databases on specific subjects

To find out which databases are most useful for specific subjects, you can either:

1) Look at the library's research guide for your subject. You'll probably see a tab labeled "Journal Articles" or "Articles".

2. Use the SUBJECTS filter on our complete A-Z list of research databases. See the example for the subject of Anthropology in this screenshot:

TIP: Be sure to limit your search to peer-reviewed (scholarly) journal articles using the filter available in each database.

But be aware that it is not a perfect filter. It only tells you whether an article comes from a journal that usually publishes mostly peer-reviewed articles. Almost all peer-reviewed journals include a mixture of different kinds of articles, including short pieces such as book reviews and editorials. These short pieces do NOT go through the same peer-review process as the rest of the articles in the journal, but they will still be included in the peer-reviewed results by a database. Always look at the article for the typical features of a scholarly article such as an abstract and extensive in-text citations.

If you have not found anything useful in the Library's databases (though that's very unlikely!), you may want to check Google Scholar.

Google Scholar lists articles from a wide variety of scholarly journals. It also includes references to book chapters and many other types of sources.

Google Scholar Search
How do I find the full text for an article I found in Google Scholar?

Google Scholar does not usually provide the full-text for articles for free, so you might get prompted to pay for access to an article. 

Do not pay for articles! It's quite likely that the KPU Library subscribes to the journal.

  • If you are on-campus, look for the "Full text at KPU" link in your results. If you do not see this link, double-check by searching for the Journal Title.
  • If you're off-campus, customize the Google Scholar settings (under 'Library Links') to check the KPU Library for full-text, then follow the steps above.
  • If the KPU Library does not have the journal article that you need, you can request a copy from another library through interlibrary loan at no charge. We do the searching and can deliver most articles to you via email within 2 business days.

Where can I get this article?

If you are searching in a KPU library database:
  • You will often see a link directly to the full-text of the article; look for a PDF icon, or a link that says "full-text"
  • If you do not see this, click on the link that says "Where can I get this?". This will often link you to the full article in another database available through KPU Library.
  • If KPU Library does not subscribe to this journal, you will be given the option to request the article AT NO CHARGE through the interlibrary loan request link. We do the searching and can deliver most articles to you via email within 2 business days.
If you have a citation for a specific article:

Look up the journal title here to find out if it's available through KPU Library:


This search will ONLY tell you whether Kwantlen users have access to a specific journal title, and link you to a list of available issues.

This tool will NOT search for individual articles on a specific topic in these journals. For that, you need to use a Research Database. (Try the recommended databases in the second tab of this box first.)


If KPU Library does not have the journal article:

You can request a copy from another library  using our interlibrary loan service at no charge. We do the searching and can deliver most articles to you via email within 2 business days.

Database search tips

This short video demonstrates several of the tips listed in the class handout. It's part of an excellent series of Research Basics videos from JSTOR:

Source citation:
JSTOR. (2018). Research basics, Module 1: Effective searching. Lesson 2: Smart searching. Part 1: Choosing search terms, putting search terms together, boolean operators [Video file]. Retrieved from