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HP 372: Contemporary Health Issues

Peer-Reviewed Sources

Your assignment requires you to use a minimum of 3 peer-reviewed sources.

So what is a peer-reviewed source?

In academic publishing, the goal of peer review is to assess the quality of articles submitted for publication in a scholarly journal. Before an article is deemed appropriate to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, it must undergo the following process:

  • The author of the article must submit it to the journal editor who forwards the article to experts in the field. Because the reviewers specialize in the same scholarly area as the author, they are considered the author’s peers (hence “peer review”).
  • These impartial reviewers are charged with carefully evaluating the quality of the submitted manuscript.
  • The peer reviewers check the manuscript for accuracy and assess the validity of the research methodology and procedures.
  • If appropriate, they suggest revisions. If they find the article lacking in scholarly validity and rigor, they reject it.

Because a peer-reviewed journal will not publish articles that fail to meet the standards established for a given discipline, peer-reviewed articles that are accepted for publication exemplify the best research practices in a field.

Take a look at this short video from NC State to learn more. 

The most reliable way to find peer review articles is using a library database. Library databases are made up almost entirely of scholarly sources and do not include any paid content like you find on the web. Below is a list of the library databases that would be most useful for this project. The interface of each database may look a little different, but the functionality will be very similar.

Once you've selected a database, start exploring with very simple search terms. You can always add more, or be more specific as you go. Avoid typing in phrases like you would in google. For example, in google you might type, "What are the harmful effects of secondhand smoke?" In a library database you would type, secondhand smoke AND harmful effects. 

Ok, now that you know you can use databases to find peer-reviewed articles, you need to know where our databases live, and to use them.. Please Note: There are two videos in the playlist.  The second video demonstrates using Academic Search Complete, however, the interface will work exactly the same for all EBSCO databases, and other academic databases will work similarly.


Google Scholar is also a searchable database of scholarly literature. It allows you to find articles, theses, abstracts, and court opinions. Articles for which we have paid access will have @ University of Lynchburg linked in the margin.

Watch the gif below to learn how to configure Google Scholar so that you're always able to find University of Lynchburg resources.