If students have a working topic idea, ask them to bring one of the sources they’re considering using for their paper/project. In class, put students into small groups. Watch the Peer Review in 3 minutes video. In their groups, ask the students to identify if they have a peer reviewed source or something else. Have them try to identify "the something else." Is it news, opinion, blog post, book/book chapter? Report back to the class. Discuss the characteristics of peer reviewed sources. Ideally, students will have a range of source types. Discuss how they can be used effectively alongside peer-reviewed sources (if they’re able to use more than scholarly articles) to support their argument.
If students don’t yet have topics, ask them identify one source related to a course reading or lecture and use that for the exercise.
Before class assign students to watch the Peer Review in 3 Minutes video or the online Peer Review Tutorial (contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to receive your students’ responses). When they come to class, provide examples of the types of sources students may use for an assignment — news, opinion essay, encyclopedia article, scholarly article, government data/website, or even social media. In small groups, give students one of the sources and ask them to identify what it is and consider the pros/cons to using it as a source. Report out as a class and develop a larger pro/con list. Issues of currency of the information, possible bias, or the value of data and scholarly articles may come up.
In all exercises, it’s helpful to share your own experience with the peer review process. What does that look like in your discipline? How long does it take? What are reviewers looking for in your work? How is that similar to the feedback you provide on their own assignments? Does your discipline use single-blind or double-blind review? Because an article went through peer review, should we trust all the claims it makes?
How do articles get peer reviewed? What role does peer review play in scholarly research and publication?
Length: 3 minutes
Created by NC State University Libraries. This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.
What are the stages of peer review? How does the process compare for popular press articles? How can you limit database results to peer reviewed articles only?
Length: 5–10 minutes
Created by Musselman Library, Gettysburg College. Unless indicated otherwise, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
What are the differences among different types of sources--from scholarly and popular books to scholarly articles? How can I identify them within a library database or catalog?
Length: 5 minutes
Created by Musselman Library, Gettysburg College This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This video introduces the concept of grey literature (e.g., conference proceedings, government reports, think tank briefs, etc.) and explains how they can help complement research that incorporates traditional scholarly sources.
Length: 3 minutes