First-Year Writing

Evaluating Information

Once you find sources, you'll need to evaluate it. Here are some tutorials to help you decide if a source is useful. 

Types of Sources

Evaluating Sources 

Types of Bias 

How to Read Scholarly Materials 

For more tutorials click here.

Is it peer-reviewed?

Although the terms "scholarly journal" and "peer-reviewed journal" are often used interchangeably, not all scholarly journals are peer-reviewed. It can be difficult to determine whether a particular journal uses a peer review process just by looking at it. Fortunately, you can use Ulrich's to check whether or not a journal is peer-reviewed.

Follow these step-by-step directions to determine whether a journal is peer-reviewed:

1. Search for the journal. If it has a generic title, it will be easier to find if you search by ISSN. A journal's ISSN is a unique 8-digit identifier formatted as ####-#### (e.g., 1080-6563). You can often find the ISSN in the detailed record for the article.

Ulrich's search bar

2. Look at the third column (from the left) in the search results table. This column indicates whether a publication is refereed (another term for peer-reviewed). If the referee shirt icon is present, the journal is peer-reviewed.

Ulrich's search results

3. You now have your answer as to whether the journal is peer-reviewed, but you may want to look at the other information provided in the results table for additional context. Here's a rundown of what the icons mean:

Icon Translation If this icon is present...
TOC icon Table of Contents You can view the table of contents for issues of this journal by clicking the "contents" tab on the detailed record page.
refereed icon Refereed The journal is peer-reviewed. (Reviewers are sometimes called referees, so "refereed" = "peer-reviewed").
electronic icon Electronic This journal is published electronically/online. Many journals are published in print and online, and often Ulrich's has separate records for each format.
open access icon Open Access This journal is Open Access (OA). OA is a publishing model in which content is "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions" (Suber, Very Brief Introduction to OA).
reviewed icon Reviewed The detailed record page includes a review of the publication. This has absolutely nothing to do with peer review.


4. For even more information about a journal, click on the title in the search results list to see the detailed record.