UMGC Library

Research Guide for Nursing: Scholarly/Peer-reviewed journals

Scholarly/Peer-reviewed journals

To make your research and writing stronger, use articles that are from quality research journals. Those journals are known by different terms:

  • scholarly
  • peer-reviewed
  • academic

Those journals provide high-quality, authoritative research articles because they are peer-reviewed: that is, when a researcher submits an article to be published, the journal editors send the article to other experts who review the article for accuracy, integrity, and the importance of its ideas. The journal will publish the article only if it passes this process of peer-review.

Scholarly/peer-reviewed journals in nursing and health care are numerous! Here are just a few examples:

  • American Journal of Nursing
  • International Journal of Nursing Studies
  • Nursing Research

How to find scholarly/peer-reviewed journal articles

In almost any library database, when you enter a keyword search, you can also check a box that will limit your search to scholarly/peer-reviewed articles only.

In fact, many specialized health databases, like CINAHL and MEDLINE, contain predominantly scholarly/peer-reviewed articles. In those databases, you don't even have to limit your search to scholarly/peer-reviewed. So if you are searching for high-quality research articles in the field of nursing and health care, definitely try those databases! 

How to recognize a scholarly/peer-reviewed article when you see one

In nursing and health care, scholarly/peer-reviewed articles will be easy to recognize. They will be written for medical professionals, usually in technical language. Often, they will have a structure and headings that look like this:

  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion

And they will usually have a long list of cited references.

Other good sources to use in your research and writing

Scholarly/peer-reviewed articles can help you make your research project better! But, depending on your topic, it can also be good to use information from "trade" magazines, which contain practical, easy-to-read information and advice for nurses and other health care professionals. Examples of trade magazines are:

  • American Nurse
  • National Nurse
  • Minority Nurse

Other good sources to use in your research, besides scholarly/peer-reviewed journals, are trustworthy, authoritative medical websites, such as medlineplus.gov and cdc.gov.