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Scientific Journal Writing: Research Tips and Tricks

This guide is meant to assist those students taking AP Biology through dual enrollment.

What does peer reviewed mean?

In academic publishing, the goal of peer review is to assess the quality of articles submitted for publication in a scholarly journal. Before an article is deemed appropriate to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, it must undergo the following process:

  •  The author of the article must submit it to the journal editor who forwards the article to experts in the field. Because the reviewers specialize in the same scholarly area as the author, they are considered the author’s peers (hence “peer review”).
  •  These impartial reviewers are charged with carefully evaluating the quality of the submitted manuscript.
  •  The peer reviewers check the manuscript for accuracy and assess the validity of the research methodology and procedures.
  •  If appropriate, they suggest revisions. If they find the article lacking in scholarly validity and rigor, they reject it.

·     Because a peer-reviewed journal will not publish articles that fail to meet the standards established for a given discipline, peer-reviewed articles that are accepted for publication exemplify the best research practices in a field.

                          

Example of Popular Magazine Article vs Scholarly Journal Article

Should I Use Books or Articles in my Paper?

Choosing the right sources for your research can be challenging. A variety of options are available, including books, articles and websites. Different sources can provide different types of information:

 

Books

Advantages: Scholarly books contain authoritative information and this can include comprehensive accounts of research or scholarship, historical data, overviews, experts' views on themes/topics. Use a book when you require background information and related research on a topic, when you want to add depth to a research topic or put your topic in context with other important issues.

 

Disadvantages: Because it can take years, in some instances, to write and publish books, they are not always the best sources for current topic.

 

Journals/Journal Articles

 

Advantages:  The articles found in many scholarly journals go through a "peer-review" process. In other words, the articles are checked by academics and other experts. The information is therefore reliable.  As well as containing scholarly information, journal articles can include reports and/or reviews of current research and topic-specific information.

Use scholarly  journals when you need original research on a topic; articles and essays written by scholars or subject experts; factual documented information to reinforce a position; or references lists that point you to other relevant research. Scholarly journals take less time to publish than books, but the peer-review process can be lengthy. 

Disadvantages: Scholarly journals include information of academic interest, so they are not the best sources for general interest topics. Because the peer-review process can be time-consuming, they may not include up-to-the minute news or current event information.