A peer-reviewed journal article is also referred to as a credible scholarly source of information, and an acceptable academic references. Peer-reviewed articles are written by researchers and scholars within the criminal justice discipline. Before the article is accepted and published by an academic journal, a panel of experts (researchers, scholars, practitioners) review the submitted article to ensure quality of the information presented. This can be a long and rigorous process of evaluation. The article must receive several approvals from subject matter experts along the way to being acceptable to publish in a scholarly journal. This is why the articles are called peer-reviewed journal articles.
Primary and Secondary Sources
Many peer-reviewed journal articles are reports of original research. The research discussed in the article was performed by the author/s submitting the report to be peer-reviewed and if accepted published to disseminate the importance of the study and findings to share with the criminal justice discipline. Peer-reviewed journal articles that report original research and findings are considered primary sources.
Criminal justice primary peer-reviewed articles are reporting on original research conducted by the author/s. Generally, the article will contain an introduction, literature review, methodology, results and discussion, conclusion, and reference list.
Secondary sources are articles within a peer-reviewed journal that are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources. Secondary sources are not based on evidence produced from original research but rather commentary on the primary sources research that is grounded in the academic literature.
Best Practices Using Peer-Review Journal Articles
Only use current peer-reviewed journal articles that are five (5) years of less from publishing.
Always give credit to the source (the author/s and article) by using in-text citations within the body of the work and include the peer-reviewed journal article in your reference list in alphabetical order.
Avoiding over quoting passages from the article. Paraphrase your analysis of the article using your own words and voice.
The criminal justice discipline has adopted and uses the writing style of APA (6th edition). Make sure that your academic paper conforms to APA Style (6th edition).
Make sure that your peer-reviewed journal article is coming from a credible source such as the academic databases within the college or university library. Many of the academic data bases have citation maker software included in the database with the article so this can help with formatting your references. Always double-check to insure that your references is formatted correctly and just do rely on the citation maker software to always format the references in proper APA Style. Sometimes you need to make adjust to the formatting so that it conforms to APA Style.
Your academic work is only as good as the quality of scholarly sources within your paper. Form good academic research and writing habits by using peer-reviewed journal articles in your academic writing assignments.
About the Author
Mark Bond has worked in law enforcement and has been a firearms instructor for more than 33 years. His law enforcement experience includes the military, local, state and federal levels as a police officer and criminal investigator. Mark obtained a BS and MS in criminal justice, and M.Ed in educational leadership with Summa Cum Laude honors. As a lifelong learner, he is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education (EdD) with a concentration in college teaching and learning. Mark is currently an assistant professor of criminal justice at a university and adjunct professor of administration of justice studies at a community college.