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NUR 300 - Foundations of Professional Nursing

Tips and resources on how to do the research for your assignments.

Why Peer-Review Matters:

When searching the literature, be sure to choose peer-reviewed publications. The peer review process gives articles more authority. Keep in mind that not every item indexed in a peer-reviewed journal is an article (e.g. book reviews, letters).

Characteristics of Scholarly Articles

When trying to determine if an article would be considered "scholarly," look at the following characteristics:

  • Length: The article is usually several pages long, and can, at times, be as long as 20 to 30 pages.
  • Author: There is always an author or group of authors listed. The author(s) usually have credentials or affiliations listed.
  • Audience: The intended audience is other experts, researchers, and students in the field.
  • Refereed: Articles may be “refereed,” or reviewed by peers prior to being accepted for publication.
  • Illustrations: The article may include maps, tables, and graphs that support the text. Colorful photographs are rarely used.
  • References: The article always includes citations to research discussed in the article in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies.
  • Language: Look for vocabulary that would be used in the author’s field or discipline.
  • Format: The article follows a standardized format (APA, MLA, etc.).
  • Title: Keep in mind that not all scholarly journals have “Journal” in the title (although many do). Also, not every source that has “Journal” in the title is actually scholarly.