Skip to main content

TCOM 201 Media and Society -- Macey: Is my article academic?

Academic sources, i.e. peer-reviewed

Academic sources (also known as scholarly sources) often include  peer-reviewed (or refereed) research articles.  These are articles that have been read, evaluated, and approved for publication by scholars with expertise and knowledge related to the article’s subjects and contents.  Peer-reviewing helps insure that articles provide accurate, verifiable, and valuable contributions to a field of study.

  • The peer-review process is anonymous, to prevent personal biases and favoritism from affecting the outcomes.  Reviewers read manuscripts that omit the names of the author(s).  When the reviewers’ feedback is given to the author(s), the reviewers’ names are omitted.
  • Editors of journals select reviewers who are experts in the subjects addressed in the article.  Reviewers consider the clarity and validity of the research and whether it offers original and important knowledge to a particular field of study.

Examples of a peer reviewed articles

Bruce, A. M. (2007) The role of the "Princess" in Walt Disney's animated films: reactions of college students. Studies in Popular Culture, 30, 1-25. Retrieved from http://www.

Burgess, M.C.R., Burpo, S. (2012) The effect of music videos on college students' perceptions of rape. College Student Journal, 46, 748-763. Retrieved from

How do I know if an article is peer reviewed?

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

    Journals that use the process of peer-reviewing to select articles for publication are often called “peer-reviewed” or “refereed” journals.  Peer-reviewed journals can also include materials like letters to the editor, book reviews, and news briefs that have not been peer-reviewed.

    • Search for your title in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory(linked below).
    • When you find your journal, look for a "referee shirt" symbol  .  The symbol will appear  to the left of any journal title that is peer reviewed and/or refereed (interchangeable terms).
  • Step 2:  If the JOURNAL is peer reviewed, then assess the ARTICLE
    • Published peer-reviewed articles name their author(s) and provide details about how to verify the contents of the articles (such as footnotes and/or a list of “literature cited” or “references”).  If the article does not name its author(s), it is not peer-reviewed.
    • Some articles provide specific information about the peer-review process (such as dates of review and approval for publication). 
    • You may also consult the journal’s table of contents, since some journals list peer-reviewed articles as “research” or “articles” to distinguish them from other materials like “news” or “book reviews”.