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HDFS 461: Program Development & Proposal Writing

Help finding statistical resources and journal literature focused on HDFS 461 assignment

Identifying Peer Reviewed Sources

Using research that has been evaluated by other experts in the field (peer reviewed or refereed) is an efficient way of finding research of value. Some ways to identify if the research is peer-reviewed:

  • Use the database: some databases consist entirely (or almost entirely) of peer-reviewed literature (for example: PsycInfo, Sociological Abstracts, Abstracts in Anthropology, ERIC)
  • Many databases allow you to LIMIT your search to peer-reviewed or scholarly literature (the EBSCOhost databases like Academic Search Premier for example)
  • Check journal's entry in Ulrich's, reference books located at the library Information Desk, with information about almost all periodicals published worldwide, including an icon noting peer reviewed. (NOTE: there is now an online version--it's called UlrichsWeb, see link below!)
  • Check the journal's editorial policy statement for an explicit statement (generally small print at the front of the issue, or visit the journal's web page). Look for a list of editors, which can be an implicit indication of peer review.
  • Ask a librarian for assistance

Other ways to identify scholarly articles:

  • Look for common characteristics of scholarly works, such as
    • easily identifiable author names and affiliations
    • an abstract, introduction, methodology, conclusions
    • citation of others' works
    • a complete list of references
  • Determine if article is written by a scholar in the field for other researchers (rather than the general public)

The University of Arizona Library has a web page and tutorial on identifying the differences between popular and scholarly articles at

Database for Determining Peer Review!

Checking to see if a journal is peer reviewed just got a LOT easier! Look up the title in UlrichsWeb online.

Evaluating Your Sources

Not everything you find will be of high quality or appropriate to your topic. You need to carefully evaluate your sources before incorporating them into your research. Ask yourself some questions:

  • Is the article peer reviewed? (see section on Peer Review for help to determine this)
  • What is the authority of the author and source? Is the author an expert? Does s/he work for a reputable university or organization? Do the statistics come from a government source (generally high reliability) or somewhere else (evaluate these carefully).
  • Are there biases in the publication?
  • Judge the relevance to your subject and the discipline. When using and comparing statistics, do they cover the same time period?
  • Is the information current? Does your subject require it to be?

Other things that may be important:

  • Does the source have a bibliography? It indicates the author did some research on the subject, and can also lead you to other relevant sources.
  • What other terminology is being used either by the author or by the database? Keep an eye out for other words you can use in your search statements.


Once you have your program planned out, where are you going to get money to fund it? One useful resource is a database called Grant Forward.
To get to this database, and discover other methods and resources for finding grant money, check out our LibGuide on Grants.

Formatting Your Bibliography

Your citations need to be in APA (American Psychological Association) format. You can find help with this on this page from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL), APA Formatting and Style Guide

Check the databases where you found your citations for help with formatting them; most databases provide this shortcut now (even the statistics databases--and yes, you will need to cite your statistics just as you do books and articles.

Academic Integrity

Understanding academic integrity is an important part of your academic career. You'll find information about academic integrity, plagiarism and the SafeAssign plagiarism prevention tool on this web site.