Hege Library & Learning Technologies

PSY 224 Developmental Psychology


Sometimes you'll hear terms like "scholarly," "academic," "peer-reviewed," "refereed," "empirical study" or "research" used interchangeably to describe a type of journal or journal article. They're related but not necessarily the same. Here's a quick lowdown:

  • Scholarly or academic journals: usually refers to the journals in which the scholarship or research of an academic discipline is published. These journals include research articles, but may also include book reviews, editorials, letters to the editor, etc. Scholarly journals are usually but not always peer-reviewed.
  • Peer-reviewed or refereed journals (or articles): refers to those journals that submit contributed articles to a panel of experts in the discipline for review prior to publication. Students are often advised to seek out peer-reviewed articles, as the peer-review process provides a greater assurance that the research presented is sound.
  • Research or empirical research: Research articles describe and document research conducted by the author(s). Empirical studies are based on data derived from observation or experimentation. Research articles usually comprise an abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, list of references and appendices.

Courtesy of
McIntyre Library/University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

Worldwide Catalog Search In-Class Exercise

Sample topic: Does having a parent in prison affect the mental health of the children? Possible keywords to search starting out: incarcerated parent(s) children, parents in prision,

1. Try an example search: children incarcerated parent

2. When you are looking for background/history on a broad topic. Under FORMAT, limit to BOOKS.

3. When you are exploring current research.  Under FORMAT, limit to ARTICLES- Peer-Reviewed

3. Browse the list of results to find most relevant titles. Open #3  "Teachers Experiences With....."

5. Note: Interlibrary Loan

6. Open #6 "Children of Incarcerated Mothers..."   Is this an empirical article?  How can you tell?

7. Add the word "study" to the example search terms and limit results to ARTICLES- Peer-Reviewed.

8. Open #6  "Violence Exposure Among Children.......    Is this an empirical article?