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HCS519 Research Skills Guide: Peer-review

Checking articles

Now that you've found some articles to use you need to confirm that they are from peer reviewed social work journals.

While most databases offer a peer review limiter, Ulrichsweb is the best place to confirm the peer review status of a journal. This is because Ulrichsweb isn't like most databases - instead of collecting articles, Ulrichsweb is a specialised database that collects information about journals.

Ulrichsweb can be found by clicking on the database listings under the letter U on the Library's Journal Databases page

Why Peer Review?
Articles published in peer-reviewed or refereed journals have been through a formal approval process. An editor and one or more subject specialists review the article before it is accepted for publication. This process is intended to ensure that the article is accurate, well-researched, and contributes to the body of knowledge in the field.

Why does the journal type matter?
The subject area of a journal is important because it will impact the way someone writes about an issue. For example, an article from an education journal may discuss children and domestic violence in terms of teaching practice - this is not useful to us as social workers who are looking for information about social work practice. 

Using Ulrich's Web

To check if an article comes from a peer reviewed journal:

  • Search for the journal title (not the article title) or the journal ISSN
  • Locate the journal on the results list
  • If there is a referee jumper () in the column on the left it means the journal (and therefore the article) is peer reviewed. In the United States of America they refer to the peer review process as refereeing, hence the referee jumper

To check if an article comes from a social work, welfare, community work or human services journal:

To confirm that an article comes from a social work, welfare, community work or human services journal (if it isn't obvious from the journal title) you will need to take a look at the journal's full record.

  • Search for the journal title (not the article title) or the journal ISSN
  • Locate the journal on the results list, and click on it to see the full record
  • Read the journal description, which gives you an idea as to what areas the journal predominately covers
  • Expand the Subject Classifications tab to see a more explicit list of major subject areas

Peer Review