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THISP 355 - de Veritch Woodside: Defining Peer Review

What is a Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journal Article?

How do I know if an article is peer reviewed?

Step 1:  Check the peer review status of the JOURNAL.

Search for your title in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.

When you find your journal, look for a "referee shirt" symbol.  The symbol will appear next to any journal title that is peer reviewed and/or refereed (interchangeable terms).

Step 2:  If the JOURNAL is peer reviewed, then assess the ARTICLE.

Is it a full research article?  If your article is a short news brief, an editorial, a letter to the editor, or a re-print of a conference proceeding, it is not peer reviewed.

What is grey (or gray) literature?

A technical defintion...

"That which is produced on all levels of govenment, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers."

(Fourth International conference on Grey Literature, Washington D.C., October 1999)


Examples of grey literature may include:

Government reports
Conference proceedings
Working papers
Market research reports
Newsletters and/or bulletins
Dissertations & Theses
Policy statements


Examples of why you might use grey literature:

  • It may be the only timely information available.
  • It may be a body of information that only governments typically collect and report on.
  • It may be valuable data/research conducted as part of an academic exercise (dissertation, working papers, etc.).
  • It may be a narrow topic with little published information available.
    • Hint:  If you are running into this issue, you may want to consider revising your topic if peer-reviewed literature is required.