I don’t know what peer-reviewed means.

The image below explains the process of peer-review for a scholarly journal. 

Illustration showing the five steps of the Peer Review Process, as described below.

The process for peer review is:

  1. A scholar does research, writes about the results, and submits it as an article to a journal in his or her field
  2. The editor of the journal receives the article and sends it out for peer-review
  3. Peer-reviewers, who are experts in the field, read the article and provide feedback to the editor. 
  4. The editor sends the reviewers' comments to the author for revision. 
  5. If the article meets editorial and peer-review standards, it is published.


Some characteristics of peer-reviewed articles include:

  • Technical terminology (written for other scholars in the field) 
  • Author(s) usually have an advanced degree and are affiliated with a university
  • Extensive list of works cited
  • Outside sources are referenced and in-text (or parenthetical) citation is used
  • Usually contains an original research study of some kind 
  • Often contains an abstract and literature review 

To learn more, take a look at the Peer Review in 5 Minutes video from the NCSU Libraries.