Academic writing is an integral part of a college education. It requires not only advanced skills when it comes to words but also strong research. This means using peer-reviewed relevant sources. No matter how good your paper is, if the sources you use are irrelevant, you are not going to get a good grade.

This is why all students need to know what peer-reviewed sources are and where to find them. Of course, if you are struggling with a college assignment, there is an easy way out. You can decide, “I need professionals to WritePaper this time,” and ask a paper writing service for help. Such a platform will deliver writing, editing, and proofreading assistance on the shortest notice. Experienced authors can nail any type of paper with ease and use only peer-reviewed sources and excellent research. Moreover, they provide guidance and support to help build those advanced writing skills for the future.

Collaborating with experts is an amazing learning opportunity. It also gives students more free time while ensuring the best grades. So you can keep up with the curriculum without putting too much pressure on yourself. But in any case, knowing how to find proper sources for academic papers is useful. This article is going to help you with that.

What is Peer Review?

The name refers to the review and validation process of an article before it gets published. The paper is reviewed by “peers” – other scholars, scientists, and researchers working in the same discipline.

This group of people defines:

  • The quality of research;
  • Validity of data given;
  • The originality of the paper;
  • Conclusions that the author gives;
  • Whether the article is worth publishing.

This ensures that everything is top-notch in terms of quality and academic value – from supporting evidence to conclusions. Basically, it serves as an approval of an article by the academic society.

Qualities of a Peer-Reviewed Article

This seal of approval makes a piece scholarly. It means that it is an appropriate source to use and reference in your research. Although one or two qualities do not make a paper automatically peer-reviewed, it is important to know what are the basic features to look for.

The common qualities of such articles are:

  • Author’s credentials from the name to the educational level like Ph.D.;
  • Proper structure and all necessary sections (methodology, discussion, abstract, etc.);
  • Parenthetical references in the text;
  • Footnotes;
  • Results are given in tables, charts, or graphs;
  • Bibliography;
  • Appropriate length.

These signifiers can help students determine whether the source is credible. For example, if it’s too short or doesn’t have a proper structure, it wouldn’t be approved by an academic board. Only by using credible sources can you craft an impressive essay or a well-built term paper.

How to Determine if a Paper is Peer-Reviewed

Maybe you’ve found an article useful for your research, but you are unsure if it is peer-reviewed. There are several ways to determine that, namely:

  1. Check the journal or newspaper for credentials and information on whether all the pieces they publish are reviewed;
  2. Check the title and location of a journal and whether it has such a status overall ( is a good place to find such information);
  3. Search through academic databases to find a full text;
  4. If you are using one of the academic databases, use the “peer-reviewed” filter to only get relevant results (Academic Search Complete or Academic Search Premier). Some databases come with filters “advanced” or “expert.” However, not all databases have such a system in place;
  5. If you are using an EBSCOhost database, the status is given at the end of the article – “peer-reviewed.”
  6. All the pieces published on JSTOR have that status, so you can use this site as your go-to search platform;
  7. Search the name of the article with “scholarly/peer-reviewed” in Google. If it comes up, it has this status.

Knowing basic information about the publishing journal and the piece is essential. This means the year of publishing, author’s data, and bibliography. The good idea is to start with sites offering relevant and scholarly pieces.

Where Can You Find Scholarly Articles

Here is a list of platforms and essential tools to find scholarly sources for your papers.


This is a multidisciplinary database for quality sources. It has the largest number of OA articles online (more than 219 million). Most of them are available in full text. And many can be downloaded in PDF format, which is quite convenient. Another benefit of this platform is a great filtering system (by journal, type of publication, language, author, etc.).


It is a credible research and publishing network with about 74 million articles listed. Students need to register to get access to full texts, but registration is free. The filtering system is also very detailed, which makes it easier to find what you need.

Students can bookmark sources and use interactive bibliography.

Directory of Open Access Journals

It is another multidisciplinary database with high-quality scholarly results. There are more than 2 million pieces to explore. Students can look up articles by subject or specific keywords. It is easy to use and gives great results.

Public Library of Science

This site publishes 12 journals with only scholarly sources. All of them are of the highest quality and can be used for academic work. Although the database is smaller than in the sites given above, it is still pretty decent. All the content is open to anyone to read and use.


The British Library runs this one. The site offers the opportunity to search through more than half a million doctoral theses. Here students can find sources on almost any discipline. All the theses featured are of the highest quality and approved by colleges and universities in the UK.

The only downside is that some sources are available in full only for payment. But you can filter them out to find only free options.

In Summary

Peer-reviewed sources are the foundation of great academic research. That’s why all college and university students need to know how to find them. Using scientific databases is a good place to start. Also, pay attention to the common features of a scholarly source.