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ARTEDUC 5367 Reel Injuns: Identity, Art, and Representation

Peer-Reviewed Resources

Peer-review is a process that articles go through to become published in scholarly journals and publications. There are a few types of peer-review, but the important thing to know is that all peer-reviewed (also known as refereed) material is read and analyzed by experts in the relevant field before being accepted for publication. This ensures that material being published is relevant, authoritative, and current. 

There is a tendency to apply the term "scholarly" only to peer-reviewed materials, but in truth, "scholarly" can be applied to many resources. If you are looking specifically for peer-reviewed material, you can check that either by applying a filter in your database search for "scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals" or by visiting a journal's website to look into their review process, which is usually disclosed on the site. 

Material Types in Database Searches

Below is a screenshot from the database Art Full Text looking at search results for the search terms "art education." You'll notice that in databases with the Ebsco interface, such as Art Full Text, the material type is noted to the left of the short record in the list of search results. You can also limit your results to only "scholarly (peer-reviewed) articles" by clicking that box.

Other database interfaces will display this information differently, but almost all of them tell you what material type you're looking at. 

Screenshot of a database search result list with the material type circled.

Peer-Review in 3 Minutes

Source: YouTube, Created by NC State University Libraries.

Types of Periodicals

There are many types of materials available to you through the library's collection and resources. Periodicals, which are publications that are published regularly, such as on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis, can be categorized into a number of different types: 

1. Scholarly or Discipline Based (reputable, include citations, often peer-reviewed, often referred to as "academic journals")

2. Newspapers (often reputable, but not "scholarly")

3. Popular (can be reputable, but require a high degree of evaluation and articles may or may not be of substantive value)

4. Sensational (not usually reputable, created to feed off of gossip and/or fear, think tabloids)

You can find articles published in scholarly journals, newspapers, and magazines both online through the library's vast electronic resources and in print at all of our library locations.

So how to check for reputability?

There are many "tests" out there designed to help users apply different criteria to resources to determine whether or not a source is reputable. We challenge you to think through this yourself. If someone told you something, how would you go about finding out if it was true? You would probably check a few things: 

  • Is this person an expert on this topic? What are their credentials? If not, think about motives. Why might they be interested in giving you this information? Where did they themselves find it? 
  • How current is the information? Is this a discipline in which studies are consistently being conducted that may change the accepted information of the day? 
  • How accurate is the information? Are there holes or exaggerations in what you were told? 

Conducting in research is simply asking a lot of questions. Once you find out relevant information, you'll have more questions to answer. There is not usually and "end" or concrete answer. To make sure that you find the best information there is on your topic, you'll need to think critically about what you're finding, whether it is peer-reviewed or not.