Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

PSYC 200 Stegner: Articles

Finding peer-reviewed, academic, scholarly articles in databases

Many of your college papers will require "peer-reviewed articles." The "peers" are experts in the same field as the author; for instance, physics professors will review a physics professor's article. A professor or other expert submits their article to the editor of a journal in their field. A psychology professor might submit an article to the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. A physicist would submit a paper to  Applied Physics journalThe editors of these academic journals then ask  the authors' peers - other professors or experts in this field - to evaluate the submitted articles. Those experts then submit their comments and reviews back to the editor, who returns them to the author, who answers the criticisms and rewrites portions of the article to satisfy his "peer" reviewers.

Academic = scholarly or peer-reviewed

This lengthy editorial review explains why peer-reviewed journals - also known as scholarly or academic journals - usually publish only four times a year. Your instructors expect you to find peer-reviewed articles. This means using limiters to narrow your search results in databases to find these articles. Librarians can help you with this. Databases vary greatly and each offers different features. We can't cover them all here, but we can use a search in one of the more widely used databases as an example. Start from the library's homepage. and click on the "Articles" tab, shown in black in the illustration below. From the left drop-down menu, we'll use a database that includes nearly 4,000 full-text, peer-reviewed journals, Academic Search Complete, highlighted in blue, above.

Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection Database


Academic Search Complete

Reading scholarly articles: Don't despair!

Scholarly, academic, peer-reviewed articles are often very difficult to read! Here are strategies to help:

  • Re-read abstract again and again
  • Ask your professor
  • Search for a “review” article
  • Ask classmates
  • Do more background reading using your textbook, encyclopedias and dictionaries, online and in print

Hey, whatever you do, don't despair! Remember, these articles were written by professors for other professors! You will grow accustomed to scholarly literature with time.

Google Scholar

Try doing an advance search using some of your keywords.

(search results open in a new window)


What we love about Google Scholar: Who DOESN'T love Google: powerful, fast, and bountiful!

What drives us crazy about Google Scholar: Many of the articles in Google Scholar are not full-text unless you pay money. Hint: We have found that citations with a "PDF" on the right side of the screen usually are full-text. 

Not able to find the full-text for free? E-mail the citation (the basic information) to me, and we will try to track down the article. Never pay for an article! If we can't get it for free, we might be able to pay for it, but you should never pay for an article!