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Research Methods in Political Science

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What is an abstract?

An abstract is an introductory field of text before the main body of the text in a scholarly journal article. What the abstract does is to explain what the article is about, its main theme, and its conclusions. In short, the abstract can be considered a summary.

What is peer review?

Peer review is a process by which scholarly publications try to ensure "quality control," that what they publish is accurate and meets the standards of research and writing in their field.

When a scholar submits a book to a university press, or an article to a scholarly journal, the editor will send it out to two (usually) reputable scholars in the author's field to evaluate whether it meets the standards of historical research and whether it contributes anything new to the field. These are the peer-reviewers--because they are considered the author's peers (or equals) in the field--and if they approve of the manuscript, the published work will be considered "peer-reviewed."

We recommend that the articles you find be peer-reviewed, and therefore check the peer-review box when you do your article research. University press books are normally considered to be peer-reviewed.