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How to Conduct a Literature Review: Step 4

Under the The Creative Commons license permission was granted to copy the design and content of this LibGuide from the Faculty of Education Library, University of Cambridge. Some content also came from the University of Illnois at Urbana-Champaign

Step 4 - Evaluating your results

Evaluate your results

Don’t forget to evaluate the material you find!

If you're searching a bibliographical database such as Academic Search Complete, PsycInfo, Psyc Articles etc. then your results will mainly be from journal articles, conference proceedings or reports.  But, if you're using other sources (such as GoogleScholar), you need to evaluate your search results.

Think about:

  • Who the author is - are they known within the field?
  • Where is it published - is the publication well-known & peer reviewed?
  • When was it last updated?
  • Does it suggest any kind of bias?


Take a look at this guide on Evaluating Resources


Merinda Hensley gave permision for content to be borrowed by permission from Literature Review: Demystified LibGuide from the University of Illnois at Urbana-Champaign.

Peer-Reviewed Journals

Articles that are peer-reviewed mean that they have been approved by a panel of experts on an editorial board before they are accepted for publication; for this reason peer-reviewed journals are often regarded as the best in their field.

Not all journals go through the peer-review process and to determine whether your journal article is peer-reviewed you need to find out if the overall journal that the article is published in is peer-reviewed.

If you have the print/paper copy of the journal, you can look at the first couple of pages or the last few pages for information as some journals will state that they are "peer-reviewed" or "refereed" or you can look at the contributor/author information to see whether there is a review policy or an editorial board.  Is the journal published or sponsored by a professional scholarly society or professional association?  If yes, then these are good indications that the journal is peer-reviewed. You could also check to see if the journal has its own website and look for editorial statements or instructions to authors there.


Use the advanced search option when using the databases  and then limit your search to  academic journals/peer-reviewed articles

Please note that even if a journal is peer-reviewed, an individual article in that journal may not be. Some article types (i.e. news items, editorials, letters, book or article reviews, etc.) may not have gone through the peer-review process. If in doubt please check with the Library Team who are happy to help.

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Eva B. Dykes Library Libguides by Oakwood University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.