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So, what is "peer review"? This phrase refers to a quality-control process used by many academic journals. Authors who are doing research submit a paper they have written to a journal. The journal editor then sends the article to the author's peers (researchers and scholars who are in the same discipline) for review. The reviewers determine if the article should be published based on the quality of the research. They evaluate this quality based on a number of factors, including:
They do not repeat the experiment or study to see if the results were accurate. This process is important because it validates the research and gives it a sort of "seal of approval" from others in the research community.
Watch this video for a more in-depth overview of how peer review works (NCSU) (5:11 min.)
Research articles are a type of scholarly source. A scholarly source is one that presents the findings of a study, research or experimentation. Scholarly sources are written by experts in a discipline for other experts in the discipline. Scholarly sources are considered more reliable than most other sources because the results are based on research, not conjecture or opinion.
While journals publish many research based articles (and these articles have gone through peer review), not all research-based articles are published in journals. Research articles also be published by government agencies, by non-governmental organizations, or by non-profit organizations. These research articles do not always go through traditional peer review but may go through a process of internal review before publication.
Examples of Non-Peer Reviewed Research
Not all research articles are the same.The following types of articles are usually lumped under the heading "research articles" but actually vary in significant ways.
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