Step One: Choose a database to search for articles.

Option 1: Know the subject area? On the Library's homepage, select Databases by Subject. Then choose from the list of subjects to get article databases relevant to that subject area. Note: if your topic crosses different subjects, such as the topic "race relations in prisons" you might need to explore databases in different subject areas, such as sociology, law, criminal justice, or psychology.

Option 2: Not sure of the subject? Select Academic Search Complete, a database that covers many subject areas.

Option 3: To see which databases are recommended by librarians for a particular subject area, consult Research Guides.

Shows options for selecting database described in text above

Step Two: Search and limit your results to peer-reviewed articles.

Once you have selected a database to search, look for a checkbox option to limit your results to scholarly (or peer-reviewed) articles only. Or, try conducting a search and then look for a checkbox to limit your results.

Shows peer review limit described in text above

If you don't see an option to limit your results to scholarly (peer-reviewed) articles, then follow these instructions:

  • Find an article you want to use.
  • If you are in a database, check to see whether you can click on the journal title to view more information about the journal. This often tells you if the journal is peer-reviewed.

NOTE: Even though a particular journal is peer-reviewed, some articles, such as news items, editorials, letters to the editor, and book reviews, may not have gone through the peer-review process.

Content adapted from Portland State University Library DIY.