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Finding Peer Reviewed Articles

Use your textbook, Wikipedia, or Google search results to try to understand your topic. These won't be scholarly sources, but they'll give you ideas about how to proceed.

Start be recording ideas and search terms

Sample Topic:

Populism and social media

Tips for LibrarySearch:

  • Use "quotation marks" when searching for strings, or >1 word phrases
    • "social media"; "Liberal Party of Canada"
  • Use AND between separate concepts and OR between different terms within the same concept
    • "social media" AND populism AND (election OR campaign)
  • Use your results to improve your searches

Activity Instructions

  1. Pick a political science topic of interest and do a couple of minutes of background reading on the topic
  2. Think of a research question or topic you might explore and select some search terms you might use
  3. In the Padlet below, select the + symbol to add a note to the padlet. In your note, include:
    1. Your topic
    2. Some keywords about that topic (6-8)
    3. A search that you might use to find articles

Made with Padlet

Filtering For Peer-Reviewed Articles

Use the Peer-reviewed and Articles filters under the Availability and Resource type headings, respectively

The peer-reviewed filter may include articles that aren't peer-reviewed. Remember to think about the characteristics of a peer-reviewed article.

Lock your filters for subsequent searches or they will reset

Click on the title of an article to find more information, including:

  • Author, journal, year, etc.
  • Subject terms - words that describe what the article is about
  • Abstract
  • Citation and linking tools
  • One or more links to the full text of the article

Use the subject terms and abstract to determine if the article is relevant and to get ideas for more search terms

Use a link under Access options to get to the full text of the article

What are Scholarly Journals?

Publications released periodically that contain peer-reviewed research articles as well as other features of interest to scholars in an academic field. Other types of articles may include:

  • Book reviews
  • Opinion/Editorial articles
  • Brief research summaries
  • Conference reports
  • News from affiliated associations

Example: Canadian Journal of Political Science, Volume 54, Issue 4, December 2021

How do I know if and when a journal uses peer review before publishing articles?

  • You can usually find the journal's policies on their website (often in the instructions for authors)
  • Search for the journal in the Ulrichsweb directory and look for the striped jersey symbol, meaning it's refereed or peer-reviewed

Searching for a Particular Journal

You can find out if the library has a journal by searching for the title in the LibrarySearch box and selecting the Journals radio button. After you've completed your search, you can also browse journals by category.

Activity Instructions

1. Use the search you created previously to find a peer-reviewed article

2. Record the title of the article and the journal in the Padlet underneath your search terms (edit the box in which you recorded your search)

3. Confirm that the article and journal are peer-reviewed

Made with Padlet

Finding Books

Characteristics of a Scholarly Book

  • Scholarly books are written by experts in the field, who usually work at universities or research-related fields. You can usually find the authors' credentials near the front or the back of the book, or by googling them.
  • Scholarly books go through an extensive review process, much like articles
  • Scholarly books are often published by university presses (e.g. UBC Press, Oxford University Press) or a publisher that specializes in academic books (e.g. Routledge)
  • Scholarly books are often intended for other experts and may contain specialized language, although academic researchers may also write books for a more general audience

Monographs vs. Edited Books

  • Monographs are written entirely by the same author(s) to explore a topic in a coherent way. They may be broken down into chapters, but those are used to break up the analysis into logical divisions.
  • Edited books are ones in which each chapter is written by a different expert in the field. Edited books explore one overarching topic, but the chapters don't necessary connect directly to each other.
    • Authors may be invited to write a chapter on the topic for an edited book and will often do so separately from the other authors, or edited books may be compiled from previously written articles or papers
  • When you use monographs, cite the book as a whole. When you use edited books, cite the specific chapter you used. 
    • Remember: you are giving credit to the author of the information you used


Tips for Finding Scholarly Books

  • Use broader terms when searching for books
  • In LibrarySearch, the Peer-reviewed filter only applies to articles - don't use it for books
  • Use the Books filter under Resource Type
  • Edited books usually indicate that the creators are editors in your results list:​​​​​


  • Use the Locate tool in the book's record (i.e. description page) to help you find print books in the library

Activity Instructions:

  1. Using your topic from the previous activity, find a relevant book
  2. Add the title of the book to your box in the Padlet below and indicate if it is a monograph or an edited book

Made with Padlet

Citing Your Sources

Citation Guides

Detailed citation guides for APA and MLA can be found on the library website.


Journal Article

APA: Engesser, S., Ernst, N., Esser, F., & Büchel, F. (2017). Populism and social media: How politicians spread a fragmented ideology. Information, Communication & Society20(8), 1109–1126.

MLA: Engesser, Sven, et al. “Populism and Social Media: How Politicians Spread a Fragmented Ideology.” Information, Communication & Society, vol. 20, no. 8, 2017, pp. 1109–26. Taylor & Francis Social Sciences and Humanities,


APA: Schroeder, R. (2018). Social Theory after the Internet: Media, Technology, and Globalization. UCL Press.

MLA: Schroeder, Ralph. Social Theory after the Internet: Media, Technology, and Globalization. UCL Press, 2018,

Chapter in an Edited Book

APA: Moffitt, B. (2019). Populism 2.0: Social media and the false allure of “unmediated” representation. In G. Fitzi, J. Mackert, & B. Turner (Eds.), Populism and the Crisis of Democracy (pp. 30–46). Routledge.

MLA: Moffitt, Benjamin. “Populism 2.0: Social Media and the False Allure of ‘Unmediated’ Representation.” Populism and the Crisis of Democracy, edited by Gregor Fitzi, et al. Routledge, 2019, pp. 30–46,


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Brian Jackson

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Office: EL4423X