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What is Research: Finding Scholarly Information

Finding Scholarly Information

OCAD U researchers have unprecedented access to information; however, one of the central problems with this perceived unlimited access is that many search tools, especially search engines, do not offer dependable criteria for evaluating:

  • the AUTHORITY and AUTHORSHIP of information
  • its ACADEMIC character (use of footnotes, citations, bibliographies), including PUBLISHER
  • the TYPE of information one is accessing, including its CURRENCY (date of publication)

All these attributes are critically important when conducting research in an academic, studio-based learning environment.  University level education is based on building a community of knowledge that is founded in critical inquiry, empirical observation, scientific methodologies, and scholarly discourse.  Works created using these academic modes are the “raw materials” required to pursue creative research. 

Most importantly, these sources allow researchers to evaluate THEORIES, CONTEXT, and SPECIFIC case-studies:

  • in an AUTHORITATIVE manner
  • using the TYPES of information—written by the foremost AUTHORS—best suited
  • to ACADEMIC research.

What is Peer-Review

Peer-review is similar to art critiques (crits) used in studio-based learning.  Before any work of art or design is completed, it is evaluated by one’s peers in the studio.  Similarly, before an article is published, it must be read and approved by a board of scholars who decide whether it is should be included in a scholarly journal or whether changes are needed before it is published. 

TYPE of information; peer-reviewed articles, essays, or research papers:

  • are published in ACADEMIC journals
  • include AUTHORITATIVE bibliography and detailed footnotes or endnotes.
  • advance scholarship or critical dialogue in a field of study for academic audience
  • use scientific methodologies or theories to shape research findings

AUTHORS of  peer-reviewed articles, essays, or research papers are:

  • ACADEMIC researchers and scholars
  • the advisory board (which contributes to the ACADEMIC content of the publication)
  • the publisher which can include universities, academic organizations, or scholarly presses (which contribute to the AUTHORITY of the peer-reviewed article)

To Identify Peer-Reviewed Journals:

For PRINT journals, check the first few pages of the periodical to see:

  • if it is published by a university or academic organization OR
  • if a there is an advisory board listed OR
  • if the submission guidelines for articles describe the peer-review process OR
  • ask a librarian or a faculty member


  • use a library EJOURNAL database OR
  • look for “Peer-Review” limit when searching using a library database or Summon search