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Ecology Journal Club

This research guide will help you find resources for articles for your Ecology Journal Club course.

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.

Is this peer-reviewed and scholarly?

Primary vs Secondary Sources in Science

Primary Sources

  • Written by scientists who perform the experiments
  • These articles include original research data and a methods section explaining how experiments were done
  • Examples: journal articles, theses, conferences, (governmental) reports, patents

Secondary Sources

  • Summarize or compare lots of research in a particular area (e.g., a review)
  • In a review article, graphs, tables, or figures containing actual data will contain citations in the figure legend to the primary research papers that originally reported the findings
  • Examples: review journals, literature/article reviews, data compilations

Recommended Databases

Summon Search

Start your research by entering your topic in the search box below, then click "Search."