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IDST 150 Honors Rebekah Taveau

Peer Review Checks Accuracy for You

When it comes to scholarly, scientific, or technical information, you might not have the background to be able to judge accuracy just by your own knowledge of the topic. That's where peer review becomes important.

Peer review is the practice of having a panel of experts, perhaps fellow researchers in the same field, evaluate articles before they are published. Authors often ask friends and colleagues to read over and comment informally as they write; but peer review is different. Peer review is done for the journal's editors, and reviewers are (ideally) not people who already know the author. The peer reviewers check whether any scientific experiments were conducted using proper scientific methods, whether any statistical analysis was accurate, and if conclusions are valid. Also ideally, reviews are objective and not based on personal opinion.

While it's possible to "game" the peer review system, in general if an article was peer reviewed, you can trust that it is accurate.

Be warned: not all academic or scholarly journals are peer reviewed. If it was, often the article will list "peer reviewed" on the first or last page. 

Fact Checking Websites

Fact Checking Websites

There are a number of very good fact checking websites out there that I go to when someone sends me an email, posts something on social media, or tells me a "true" story that gives me pause.