What is a Peer-Reviewed Journal?

What is a Peer-Reviewed Journal?

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  My professor told me I have to cite using scholarly, peer-reviewed journals.  What does that mean?

College students are often asked to include scholarly peer-reviewed journals as sources for citations.  If the school offers an online library, it can be easy to search for these journals by simply marking the box under the search line that lists something like “search for peer-reviewed journals only” or “scholarly peer-reviewed”.  By marking this box, anything that comes up in the search should be appropriate to use for college-level assignments.

A peer-reviewed journal insures that the article is of the highest quality and reflects sound research.  Library.usm.main.edu does a nice job of explaining the peer review process:

  • Articles submitted by authors are evaluated by a group of peer experts in the field.
  • The reviewers recommend whether the submitted article be published, revised, or rejected.
  • This review process is often performed “blind”, meaning the reviewers do not know the names or academic affiliations of the authors, and the authors do not know who is reviewing their work.

Ulrich’s Periodical Directory Online is a link where the journals’ title can be submitted to get a report about whether the journal is actually peer-reviewed. 

What is meant by scholarly journals?  CalPoly explained, “Scholarly journals contain articles written by, and addressed to, experts in a discipline. They are concerned with academic study, especially research, and demonstrate the methods and concerns of scholars. The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report original research or experimentation and to communicate this information to the rest of the scholarly world. The language of scholarly journals reflects the discipline covered, as it assumes some knowledge or background on the part of the reader. Scholarly journals always rigorously cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. Many scholarly journals are published by professional organizations.”

Related Articles

What is the Difference Between a Citation and a Reference?

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  What do professors mean when they say to include citations and references?

Students are often required to have both citations and references when creating their college assignments.  There can be confusion as to what the difference is between a citation and a reference.  Cornell explains, “a citation occurs when you use a specific source in your work and then follow up with the proper bibliographic information; plagiarism issues arise when you use a specific source, but fail to indicate what you have borrowed, and/or fail to provide proper bibliographic information a reference is the bibliographic information that guides readers to your source.”

It may seem easier to understand when given examples of each.  Here is an example of a citation:

“Canadians can celebrate that smoking rates have dropped dramatically in Canada in the past three decades” (Reutter, 2001, p. 13). 

You may also paraphrase what others have written.  Here is an example of how to do this correctly:

According to the Canadian Lung Association (2008), most people who quit smoking use a combination of methods. 

These should be included within the body of the document. They should not be confused with references.  References should be included on the separate Reference Page.

An example of how to list references on a Reference Page is listed below.  Keep in mind that formatting will not show up correctly on a blog.  The first line of each reference should be at the left margin and each following line should be indented 1/2 inch.  Here is an example without the indentations showing up:

References

Canadian Lung Association. (2008). How to quit. Retrieved May 26, 2008, from http://www.lung.ca/protect-protegez/tobacco-tabagisme/quitting-cesser/how-comment_e.php

Reutter, L. (2001). Health and wellness. In P. A. Potter, A. G. Perry, J. C. Ross-Kerr, & M. J. Wood (Eds.), Canadian fundamentals of nursing (2nd ed.) (pp. 2-30). Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Harcourt Canada.

It is important to note that many students think they should just include references to show the sites they visited or read to complete the assignment.  This is not correct.  References should be listed to explain where the citation information was obtained.  If a citation was not listed within the document, it doesn’t make sense to list a reference.

15 Ways to Improve Writing Skills for Students And Everyone Else

In some of the classes I teach, we discuss whether texting has hurt how people communicate.  Many students are so used to abbreviating that they sometimes have difficulty when the time comes for them to actually write in complete sentences.  I get a lot of questions from my students about how to format papers.  I think it is helpful to have a few different sites to go to for examples to help learn how to write and format correctly.  Many colleges and universities require that papers are submitted in APA format.  If you have to write something for a class or just need helpful writing tips in general, please check out the following:
  1. For a sample APA paper in 6th edition style, see:  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/pdf/20090212013008_560.pdf
  2. For more APA information check out http://apastyle.apa.org/ and http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/.
  3. The following is a great site for help with grammar:   http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/.
  4. To see how to remove extra spaces between paragraphs check out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWcouakic5Y .
  5. A good size paragraph is at least 3-4 sentences.  It also should not be so long that it takes up an entire page.  Many students are unaware of how to set up a paragraph correctly.  For help understanding paragraph structure, check out http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/fwalters/para.html. Also check out: How to write an essay – http://lklivingston.tripod.com/essay/.
  6. Always check your spelling! To see commonly misspelled words, check out http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/misspelled.html.
  7. Always submit your documents in the format requested.  I teach for 6 universities and they all require papers in .doc or .docx format.  Do not submit papers in .wps format.  When you save your document, be sure you are picking the save as Word document setting. http://www.mydigitallife.info/2008/11/25/how-to-change-default-file-saving-format-from-docx-to-doc-in-word-2007/.
  8. Many people are unaware of the functionality of the home tab in Word.  If you are in a word document and want to set your paper’s default settings, notice the paragraph part of the tool bar.  On that section, there is a small downward diagonal arrow in the bottom right corner.  If you click on that, you can set your default settings for your present document or for all future documents. If you want it set for all future documents, pick the default button at the bottom when you are finished changing your settings. Be sure your spacing is set at zero before and after paragraphs if you are getting extra spaces between paragraphs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWcouakic5Y .
  9. How to write a business plan – http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/plan/writeabusinessplan/SERV_WRRITINGBUSPLAN.html.
  10. How to write a marketing plan – http://www.infotoday.com/mls/jun99/how-to.htm
  11. How to write an abstract – http://www2.winthrop.edu/english/handbook/AbstractTips.pdf.
  12. If you need some editing help, many schools have a writing center where you can submit your paper to give you suggestions as to how to improve your paper.  I have several editors I can recommend if you want to email me at diane@drdianehamilton.com.
  13. If you need statistical help, I also have an excellent statistician I can recommend if you email me at diane@drdianehamilton.com.
  14. Do not cut and paste things into your paper.  If you are going to quote someone, you can do so if you cite correctly.  Many students make the mistake of thinking they can copy and paste entire pages of information right into their papers without citing.  Do not do this as it is considered plagiarism. For help understanding how to avoid plagiarism see http://library.csusm.edu/plagiarism/howtoavoid/how_avoid_internet.htm.
  15. If you are submitting a paper for class, it is best to submit it to their TurnItIn program to check to be sure you are not plagiarizing.  TurnItIn is a program that many schools offer to be sure your work is legitimately your own. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnitin.

Related Articles:

How to Paraphrase and Avoid Using Direct Quotes

What’s New in the Sixth Edition of the APA Publication Manual?

What’s New in the Sixth Edition of the APA Publication Manual?

via apastyle.org – Click this link for more on this article.

Many of my students are now required to use the 6th edition of the APA manual. For help on what has been changed in the newest edition, see the above link. I like that they now have 2 spaces after a period . . . I think it looks better.

Free Education

If you are thinking of changing careers but don’t think you have enough training or education  . . .  in my book How to Reinvent Your Career, you will be able to find some suggestions about how to learn things for free.
 
One of my favorite new ways to learn things is through iTunes’ program called iTunes U (the U stands for university). Some very well respected universities participate in iTunes U, and offer many free video downloads that you can access to learn about almost anything. Even if you aren’t considering changing jobs, I highly recommend checking out their free lectures.

You can also learn a lot on iTunes through their podcasts, which are also free. A podcast is a recorded audio program that you download onto your computer, iPod or MP3 device. There are excellent podcasts on just about any topic you can imagine.

For a list of some great free educational sites, check out the following:

1.    iTunes U: http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/ – iTunes have their university courses as well as regular podcasts available. Be sure to check out all of the free things iTunes has to offer.

2.    ‘Stuff you should know’ podcast  (the hosts Josh and Chuck are great!): http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/stuff-you-should-know-podcast.htm

3.     MIT Open Courseware: http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/courses/courses/index.htm

4.     Computer training: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/computer/topic.aspx?id=140

5.      How to use APA for writing papers: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

6.      Source for a lot of educational videos that help you to be on the cutting edge: http://wimp.com/

7.      Grammar guide: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/

8.      Online tutorials: http://www.librarysupportstaff.com/ed4you.html#Online Tutorial

9.      Source for many educational training videos: http://websearch.about.com/od/imagesearch/a/education_video.htm

10.    Career training resource: http://freecareertraining.org/

Top 10 Things Prospective Online College Students Should Be Doing

Top Ten Things the Prospective Online College Student Should Be Doing

#1 Research accreditation of prospective online universities – Just because a college is online, does not mean it is an accredited university. Be sure that the school has received accreditation from one of the 6 regional accrediting organizations in the US.

#2 Research financing options available – There are still employers offering to pay for employee education. There are many old and new loan programs available for students. You might want to consider military options or grants as well. It might be wise to check out trends in financing through collegeboard.com.

#3 Talk to your school counselor – Your counselor is one of the best resources you will have during your online experience. They can offer advice about possible degree and career choices. They can help you set up your schedules and answer many of the questions you may have about online learning.

#4 Brush up on your writing skills – If you have not been in school for a while, it is important to be sure you have strong spelling and grammar skills as well as a good understanding of paragraph and essay structure.

#5 Research APA – Most online universities require that students submit papers in APA format. Although they will teach you the specifics of these requirements, it would not hurt you to know the basics of APA before beginning courses.

#6 Research How to Avoid Plagiarism – The Internet offers so many resources to online students that it can be easy for many to not understand the rules of when and how to cite sources. Plagiarism is considered a very serious offense. One way to avoid it is to be knowledgeable of what it entails.

#7 Research Netiquette – If you have not had a lot of online experience, you may need to brush up on your netiquette skills. Netiquette is the combination of the words Internet and Etiquette. There are certain things that are considered rude such as TYPING IN ALL CAPS. The school will give you some guidance in this area, but it is a good idea to research what is proper.

#8 Set Goals – It is very important to have written, specific, measurable goals. Research how to set up meaningful goals that have measurable timelines in them for what you want to achieve with your education.

#9 Discover your preferences for learning – We all have different types of preferences when it comes to how we learn material. Do you learn the best when the material is verbal or visual? You might be a social learner or a solitary learner. By discovering your type, you can focus on learning by utilizing the information in the style or format that best fits your needs.

#10 Discover any roadblocks to your success so you can cover come them – Write down all of the reasons why you either think you might not succeed or have not succeeded in the past with your education. Next write down all of the solutions to these problems so that you will know how to confront them should they arise.