LEGALST R1B: Equal Rights in a Changing Society: 1954 to the Present

What is Peer Review?

Your instructor may want you to use "peer reviewed" articles as sources for your paper. Or you may be asked to find picture of thinking student"academic," "scholarly," or "refereed" articles. What do these terms mean?

Let's start with the terms academic and scholarly, which are synonyms. An academic or scholarly journal is one intended for a specialized or expert audience. Journals like this exist in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Examples include Nature, Journal of Sociology, and Journal of American Studies. Scholarly/academic journals exist to help scholars communicate their latest research and ideas to each other; they are written "by experts for experts."

Most scholarly/academic journals are peer reviewed; another synonym for peer reviewed is refereed. Before an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal, it's evaluated for quality and significance by several specialists in the same field, who are "peers" of the author. The article may go through several revisions before it finally reaches publication.

Magazines like Time or Scientific American, newspapers, (most) books, government documents, and websites are not peer-reviewed, though they may be thoroughly edited and fact-checked. Articles in scholarly journals (in printed format or online) usually ARE peer-reviewed.

How can you tell if an article is both scholarly and peer-reviewed?

Read more

Article Databases

Use the following databases to find articles relavent to your research.

  • Academic Search Complete
    A multidisciplinary index to articles in more than 10,900 journals and other publications in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese; full-text is available for over 5300 journals.
  • America: History and Life
    Indexes over 2,000 journals published worldwide on the history of the US and Canada from prehistory to the present. Includes all key English-language historical journals; selected historical journals from major countries, state, and local history journals; and a targeted selection of hundreds of journals in the social sciences and humanities.
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Includes over 6,000 individual titles of international, national and local newspapers and wire services; radio and television transcripts; and business, medical, industry, and legislative magazines, journals, and newsletters. Wide geographic coverage and translations from foreign-language sources, as well as news services like the Associated Press, Agence France Press, El Pais and Xinhua (New China) News Agency.
  • GenderWatch
    Includes magazines, academic journals, newspapers, newsletters, books, pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government reports that focus on the impact of gender across a broad spectrum of subject areas.
  • Left Index
    Alternative, radical, and leftist journals, books, newsletters, dissertations, and web sites with a primary emphasis on political, economic, social, and culturally engaged scholarship inside and outside academia. A few materials have been included since 1975, though most began in 1982. Platform change: All NISC databases have switched to the EBSCOhost interface.
  • LGBT Life
    Indexes more than 120 Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (GLBT)-specific core periodicals and over 200 GLBT-specific core books and reference works. The product also contains data mined from over 40 priority periodicals and over 1,400 select titles. Also provides references to grey literature, newsletters, case studies, speeches, etc. Disciplines covered include civil liberties, culture, employment, family, history, politics, psychology, religion, sociology and more. Will soon contain all relevant data from NISC's Sexual Diversity Studies.

UC eLinks and Citation Linker

Sometimes the database you search doesn't link to the fulltext -- it only gives the citation. Click the UC e-links button to see if Berkeley has it online, and if not, it will check for a print version.  And if we don't have it at all, it lets you request it through Interlibrary Loan.

What if there isn't a UC e-links button??? Sometimes you find an article in a bibliography, a book or a footnote -- and you want to see if we have it. The Citation Linker searches through our online databases to see if it's available fulltext. If not, it sets up a search for the paper journal in Melvyl. And if we don't have it at Berkeley, it lets you request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Last Update: February 12, 2013 17:03