Skip to main content

Research Guides

Global Studies Task Force: Information Flow: Peer-reviewed Communications

A visual map to resources

Peer-reviewed communications

peer-reviewed literature : publishing research

journal articles | scholarly books

Description: Peer-reviewed literature (sometimes called refereed publications) are scholarly works that typically represent the latest original research in the field, research that has been generally accepted by academic and professional peers for dissemination and discussion.

The term peer review, or refereeing, refers to the process of screening scholarly writing before it is approved for publication. Review panels are comprised of other REECAS scholars and they evaluate material submitted according to such criteria as:

Significance -- is the research reasonably significant within the context of other research in the discipline? Does it have a meaningful connection to the current knowledge base?
-- is the method by which these data were gathered and analyzed consistent with normal and accepted practice within the discipline?

Approval for publication does not necessarily mean the research findings are true. They are considered authoritative evidence for a claim and validation typically comes as the research is further analyzed and its findings are applied and reexamined in different contexts or using varying theoretical frameworks.

Types of peer-reviewed literature

Articles written by REECAS scholars with other scholars in the field as their audience. Journal articles represent the latest empirical findings, statistical analysis, and theoretical debate within the discipline.

Scholarly books
Peer-reviewed books are generally published by university presses and scholarly publishing houses like University of Washington Press or Akademicheskii Proekt (St. Petersburg). One way of distinguishing these books from those published by more commercial houses is to search Publishers' Catalogues online. Frequently, major publishing houses will provide separate names for their scholarly publishing operations and will provide a statement of their publishing philosophy somewhere on their Web site.

Dissertations are reports of original research performed by graduate students for advanced degrees. The peer review process, in this case, is conducted by a panel of faculty who must approve the methodology and findings before granting a degree. A small number of dissertations are later revised and published by university presses or commercial publishers, sometimes under modified or expanded titles.

Keep in mind ...


Peer-reviewed scholarship may provide theoretical frameworks for contextualizing your strategic arguments -- a way to give a structure to your selective narration of current events and recent policy papers.

Because journal articles can be published and distributed more rapidly than books, they are a better source for research on issues of current interest.

Articles typically include substantial bibliographies and references to other literature related to the research topic.


Journal articles and dissertations are written by scholars, researchers, and students for their peers, not the general public. This means they typically employ more technical and academic vocabularies that may require more understanding of the field on the part of the reader. Some articles may require some background or summary reading for context and clarification.