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History of Witchcraft and Sorcery


What is Peer Review?

Resource Types

Peer Review Text

What is peer-reviewed?

This is a process a where recognized experts on a topic read and review the article before it is published in a journal. Most of the time the review process is anonymous and both the author and reviewer are not identified. The reason for this is to eliminate any personal bias in the review process. During the review process, the article will be evaluated on the accuracy of the information in the article, and reliability of the research methods used, and the overall quality of the research presented in the article.

The Peer review process answers the following questions:

  • Is the research valid and credible?
  • Are research design and methodology appropriate?
  • Is this research significant and the findings important?
  • Is the research original and new?
  • Does the paper properly cite the previous work done by others?
  • Should this work be published, improved or rejected.  

 Who is an expert?

  •  Experts are recognized authorities on a topic. You can identify someone’s authority by their education, credentials, and affiliation.
  • Look for academic degrees such as PhD. For scholarly articles the educational background and degrees of the author should be easy to find.
  • Look at where the author is employed. If it is a university this is a good sign. Generally experts will be employed (affiliated) with some organization such as a university, corporation or government.
  • The author and their degrees are visible.
  • The author's affiliation and contact information will be visible

What does a Primary Research Article look like?

  • All primary research articles will share many of the same characteristics
  • There will usually be a paragraph labeled abstract at the beginning of the article. This abstract will be a brief summary of the article, and is intended to help the reader determine if the article is on the topic of interest. You can also see that the authors and their affiliations are clearly shown.


Primary sources

Primary sources contain information which is original, and can often be the most up-to-date information available. Primary sources will be written or produced by people who were directly involved in the research or events being presented and described in those sources.

Primary sources are records that provide first-hand testimony or evidence of an event, action, topic, or time period. Primary sources are usually created by individuals that directly experience an event or topic, and record their experience through photographs, videos, memoirs, correspondence, oral histories, or autobiographies.

Secondary literature is the mass of published materials that interpret, evaluate, or analyse the evidence derived from primary sources. Secondary sources provide a factual context or interpretative framework for your analysis.

Secondary resources take a wide range of forms:

  • academic books.
  • journal articles.
  • documentaries.
  • biographies.
  • annotations or commentaries on primary sources.
  • textbooks.
  • magazine articles.

Tertiary resources summarise, abstract or index the information derived from primary or secondary sources. These sources can assist you to find background information on your topic (such as definitions, names and dates) or take you to relevant books and general articles.

Theses sources include:

  • encyclopedias.
  • dictionaries.
  • atlases.
  • handbooks.
  • indexes.
  • review articles.