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PolyU Library

Conduct a Literature Review

A guide to walk you through the process of doing a literature review

Evaluate Scholarly Sources

Scholarly sources help you develop an academic argument for your research. Books and scholarly journals are two major scholarly sources you will need for your research work. You have probably heard from your instructor or supervisor that you would need to read peer-reviewed works. So what does peer review mean and how do we check if a work is peer-reviewed?


What is Peer Review?

Peer review is a quality control process before a scholarly work is published. Watch this short video to learn what peer review is.

Source: NC State University Libraries (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

How to find peer-reviewed works?

Both OneSearch and many library databases offer the option to limit search results to "Peer-reviewed" works only. Here are a few examples: 


Some databases are highly selective and only cover peer-reviewed journals, e.g. Web of ScienceScopus. This means that you will only find peer-reviewed articles when searching on these databases. 

How to find high impact peer-reviewed works?

For postgraduate students, you may need to start reading from the top journals in your research field. There are a couple of tools to help you identify the top journals according to certain citation metrics.

  • Journal Citation Reports (JCR)
    ranks journals covered in Web of Science SCIE and SSCI based on Journal Impact Factor (JIF) and a few other metrics. Check out this guide to know how to find top journals in your field based on JIF. 
  • Scopus > Sources
    ranks journals covered in Scopus based on CiteScore, SNIP and SJR. Check out this guide to know how to find top journals in your field based on these metrics.