While peer-reviewed journals generally provide the strongest and most reliable information, they nevertheless vary widely in quality. Learning the best journals in your discipline and specialty takes time and experience, but you can use the following strategies to help you determine the quality of a journal, even with limited experience:
Look up the journal's website. What institutions or organizations are affiliated with the journal? Who is the editor? What can you find out about the editor and the scholars currently publishing in the journal? Are they professional academics? Where else have they published?
Browse some of the articles in the journal. Are they well-written and organized? Is the writing generally free of spelling and typographical errors? Do the authors cite sources accurately in a consistent style?
Ask your professor. As experienced scholars, professors are very knowledgeable about the best journals in particular specialty areas.
Remember, there is no single strategy for determining the best journals. The key is asking critical questions about the journal before citing it in your paper. For additional information, see the library's page on Critical Evaluation of Resources.
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