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Engineering 100W

A guide to library resources for Engineering 100W students

Identify Peer-Reviewed

The library subscribes to Ulrich’s Periodical Directory, which contains comprehensive journal publication information, including whether the journal employs a peer review process. Ulrich’s uses the term “refereed” instead of “peer-review.” The presence of a sports referee jersey indicates that the journal uses peer review.

To access Ulrich’s, use the link above or:

  1. Navigate to
  2. Select “Articles & Databases”
  3. Click “U”
  4. Select “Ulrich's Periodicals Directory”

Enter the title of the journal (not the title of the article) or the ISSN of the journal in the search field. After finding the journal’s record, look for the field, “Refereed.” The value should be “Yes.

Refereed Symbol

The following video demonstrates how to check if a journal uses a peer-review process.

What is Peer-Review?

Scholarly articles are submitted to journals (or conferences), which may use a peer-review process. This means several other subject experts review article submissions for quality, and will recommend whether the article should be published in the journal (or conference). Ideally, peer review ensures that only high-quality research is published. However, like most processes, peer review isn’t perfect, so it’s important to always think critically about the articles you read.

The Peer Review Process

(Image from UCSD).

Article Types

Journals or magazines (and the articles therein) can generally be classified as scholarly, trade or popular. In engineering, trade journals are valuable sources of information. They provide brief reports on discoveries, inventions, and updates. However, trade journals are not peer-reviewed. On the other hand, scholarly journals may be peer-reviewed. The information in peer-reviewed articles is thorough and reliable, but they can take a long time to be published. 





To inform and report on original research, experimentation or technical solutions

To provide news and updates to people in a particular industry or profession

To provide general information to a lay audience

Peer-reviewed? Sometimes Never Never
Cited Sources Has substantial bibliographies Occasionally include brief bibliographies Rarely include bibliographies
Authors Scholars or researchers in the field, specialty Practitioners and educators within the industry or profession News reporters or freelance writers

Article Appearance

Articles are lengthy and structured into sections: abstracts, lit. review, method, architecture, results, conclusions, bibliography

Contains graphs, charts, photographs supporting the research

Photographs and illustrations used to support the article but also for aesthetic purposes to draw in readers

Articles are usually brief and do not follow a certain format

Photographs and illustrations used to support the article but also for aesthetic purposes to draw in readers

Articles are usually brief and do not follow a certain format


Journal of Biotechnology

Biosensors Journal

Industry Week

IEEE Spectrum

Scientific American

New York Times

(Adapted from Meriam Library, California State University, Chico).

Types of Scholarly Articles

You may encounter different types of scholarly articles in your research. Many databases have a "Document Type" search field and filter, which you can use to specify the kind of scholarly article you are interested in.


Research Article

Review Article

Conference Proceedings

Editorials/Book Reviews

What is it?

Authors report the results of their own systematic studies. This is a primary source.

A review is a secondary source of information. It is a critical evaluation of existing studies in a field.

These are the official records for professional meetings of organizations, such as conferences and workshops.

Book reviews provide insight and opinions on recently published scholarly books. An editorial may be a summary of an article appearing with the issue of the journal.
Purpose Provide original research on a topic. They provide good overviews and they can lead you to empirical research on your topic. Proceedings can be an important source of information, and in many cases are the most current resources available on particular research topics. While these are generally not appropriate for research papers, they can help you identify sources that are appropriate.

Clues for Identification in the Title, Abstract, or Introduction

Empirical, Experimental, Research, Study Literature review Proceedings, Abstracts, Meeting abstract, Conference papers