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NUR 288: Nursing Concepts IV

This guide is designed for the Nursing Concepts IV Research Instruction.

Peer Reviewed Articles Video

Definition of Scholarly or Peer Reviewed Articles

Scholarly and professional journals feature articles written by researchers and practitioners in a particular subject area. The authors often have particular specialties. Peer groups of researchers, scholars and professionals within a specific discipline are the audience for scholarly literature.

Peer review is a well-accepted indicator of quality scholarship. It is the process by which an author's peers read a paper submitted for publication. A number of recognized researchers in the field will evaluate a manuscript and recommend its publication, revision, or rejection. Articles accepted for publication through a peer review process implicitly meet the discipline's expected standards of expertise.

Articles in some scholarly and professional journals are not peer-reviewed, but are selected by an editor or board. Standards of scholarship in such journals are often equal or comparable to those of peer-reviewed publications, although this is not always the case.

Source: University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.

Systematic Review Article

A systematic review is a high-level overview of primary research on a particular research question that systematically identifies, selects, evaluates, and synthesizes all high quality research evidence relevant to that question in order to answer it. In other words, it provides an exhaustive summary of scholarly literature related to a particular research topic or question. A systematic review is often written by a panel of experts after reviewing all the information from both published and unpublished studies. The comprehensive nature of a systematic review distinguishes it from traditional literature reviews which typically examine a much smaller set of research evidence and present it from a single author’s perspective. Systematic reviews originated in the biomedical field and currently form the basis of decision-making in Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) and evidence-based behavioral practice (EBBP).  

From Northcentral University Library 

Meta-Analysis Article

Systematic reviews often use statistical techniques to combine data from the examined individual research studies, and use the pooled data to come to new statistical conclusions. This is called meta-analysis, and it represents a specialized subset of systematic reviews. Not all systematic reviews include meta-analysis, but all meta-analyses are found in systematic reviews. Simply put, a systematic review refers to the entire process of selecting, evaluating, and synthesizing all available evidence, while the term meta-analysis refers to the statistical approach to combining the data derived from a systematic-review. Conclusions produced by meta-analysis are statistically stronger than the analysis of any single study, due to increased numbers of subjects, greater diversity among subjects, or accumulated effects and results. Meta-analyses have become common in the social and biomedical sciences. However, some challenge the validity of meta-analysis, arguing that combining data from disparate studies produces misleading or unreliable results.

From Northcentral University Library 

Autopsy of a Scholarly Article Activity

Characteristics of Scholarly Articles / Peer Reviewed

Characteristics of scholarly or peer reviewed articles:

  • Authors are experts in the subject field. They are authorities in that field of study. Authors are highly educated.
  • Articles go through a peer-review process. This is the process where the article is read by recognized researchers in the field and recommend the article for publication in the journal. They look for errors in the article/research.
  • Articles are usually reports on scholarly research or case studies.
  • Articles cite their sources at the end of the article in the Reference section. 
  • Published monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually.
  • Journals are geared toward scholars, researchers, professionals and college students.


Some examples of scholarly or peer reviewed journals:     

  • AJN: American Journal of Nursing
  • Geriatric Nursing
  • JAMA: Journal of American Medical Association
  • Journal of Specialized Nursing Care

Journals are indexed and accessible through the WCC Research Databases. 

Identifying Scholarly Articles - What to look for

Once you identify a great article, look for the following

  • An abstract at the beginning of the article -- summary of the researchers/authors argument, approach and conclusion
  • Author(s) -- scholarly articles usually have two or more authors -- author credentials and affiliations are listed on first page or last page of article
  • Specialized Headings/Sections in the article -- include:
    • Introduction -- One to several paragraphs describing the subject content of the article
    • Methodology --  This section will provide information about what data was collected and who participated in the study
    • Results -- This section will provide information about the results of the study
    • Discussion - The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe the significance of research study and provide any new insights from the research
    • Conclusion -- this section will provide the findings of the research and any recommendations and limitations of the study
    • References or bibliography -- an extensive list of references used in the research of the article is provided at the end of the article.

Note: The structure and format of peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts (articles) are changing. You might find peer-reviewed articles without a separate literature review and conclusion sections. These sections will be part of the introduction and discussion sections. 

How to Read a Scholarly Article

Guided Tour of Scholarly Article

Types of Scholarly Articles