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Subject Guide for history

Finding Articles

Articles, in comparison to books, are shorter and usually discuss a more focused topic. Library databases provide access to scholarly articles and other resources that are often unavailable on the open web.

History Databases (General)

Specialized History Databases

Interdisciplinary Databases

These interdisciplinary databases can be good starting points for your research.

Scholarly Articles & Peer Review

Academic peer review is a process through which scholarly work is reviewed by experts in a field before a decision is made to publish the work. Most but not all scholarly sources are peer-reviewed.

Peer-reviewed articles are usually:

  • published in academic journals
  • written by professionals for professionals
  • follow the conventions, language, and methods of their disciplines

Names for peer-reviewed articles

  • Peer-reviewed
  • Scholarly
  • Academic
  • Refereed

Peer review process

Note: The process described below reflects the review process for peer-reviewed articles published in academic journals. Some academic books (e.g., many published by university presses) are also peer reviewed and follow a similar process.

  • Draft of article is sent to the journal editors, who send the article to experts in the field (reviewers). 
  • Reviewers evaluate the accuracy, quality, and originality of the research documented in the article.
  • Reviewers make one of the following recommendations: published in its current form; publish after required revisions; revise and resubmit; reject. 
  • Editor sends the author the final editorial decision.
  • If appropriate, author revises the article based on feedback. Editor or reviewers review the article again.
  • If appropriate, the article is published.

Common characteristics of peer-reviewed articles

  •  The author's credentials include an advanced degree and an affiliation with a university or research institution.
  •  The writing style uses technical terms because it is written for other scholars.
  •  The article contains an abstract, literature review, and reference list.

Video "Peer Review in Three Minutes

Adapted from the Indiana University Bloomington Library DIY project created by Andrea Baer and Julia Davis, which was adapted from the original Portland State University Library DIY project created by Meredith Farkas, Amy Hofer, Lisa Molinelli, and Kimberly Willson-St. Clair. Thank you to all for sharing their content, which may be reused and adapted under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

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