Skip to Main Content

Graduate Nursing Resources

Check the Validity of your Journal Article

There is no one place to go to verify the validity of your journal articles, rather each article must be weighed on its own merits and what you know of the author, journal, and journal publisher.  Here are a few things that weigh in favor of an article being more scholarly:

Article level - 

  • Written in a standard format, for example Abstract, Introductions, Materials and Methods, Discussion, Conclusion
  • Contains plenty of references and in-text citations
  • Author affiliation is clearly stated
  • States a hypothesis or research plan and sticks to topic.
  • Clearly states dates for when article was submitted and when it was accepted

Journal level -

  • Scope of the journal is clearly stated, and articles are written to that scope
  • Editors and editorial board are clearly stated, and experts in the field
  • Journal is affiliated with a society or institution
  • Journal is indexed in an established database such as Biological Abstracts or MEDLINE

For open access journals, inclusion of a journal title in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) can be a positive indicator.


Recognizing Peer Reviewed (Refereed) Journals

In addition to the above criteria, which can help you determine the 'scholarliness' of an article, you may also need to verify that the article has gone through a peer review process.  Some databases, such as Academic Search Premier, allow you to click a check-box to say you only want peer reviewed journals, while others are less clear in making the distinction for peer review articles.  Checking what the journal says about its process is a good next step.

Search the Journal's website for Author Guidelines.  Peer reviewed journals should clearly list the peer review process:

*the above is an image of the journal Evolution, with a box outlining a portion of the text from the "instructions for authors" that specifically describes the peer review process articles undergo once submitted to the journal.*

Still not sure if your journal is peer reviewed?  Ask a Librarian:

Evaluate Sources like a Fact Checker

Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers by Michael A. Caulfield

Types of Information, Information Sources, and Evaluating Information

Video from Oviatt Library at California State University: Types of Information (3:00)

Handout from York University: PARCA Test - one way of evaluating information that you find

Handout from Northeastern University discussing the types of periodicals (scholarly, professional, opinion, popular) and how to recognize them