Formal research conducted by serious researchers always consists of works (journal articles or other) that have been peer reviewed. The reason peer reviewed works are considered to be of higher quality than other works is because they "have been submitted to a process of evaluation by one or more experts in the subject to determine whether it is worthy of publication" (visit here for additional definitions).
Although many peer reviewed articles can be accessed using the Internet, the easiest way to tell whether or not an article is "peer reviewed" is by reading the journal from which it came. Many peer reviewed journals state in their introductions that they are, indeed, peer reviewed. Consequently, serious researchers spend considerable amounts of time in the library. In Utah, for example, a quick trip to the libraries at either BYU, the University of Utah, or Utah State University can be well worth the time as these libraries contain entire floors of peer reviewed journals.
Nevertheless, as not all students have access to the actual journals, the Internet can also prove to be an invaluable resource. Many libraries and an increasing number of other sources now offer online access to journals. Here are a few of my favorite starting places:
- Utah State University - Merrill Cazier Library
- Brigham Young University - Harold B. Lee Library
- University of Utah - J. Willard Marriott Library
- National University - Full Text Electronic Journal Index
- JSTOR - Online journal database
- Google Scholar - Journals, books, and abstracts
Image Source - Myself. This is a shot of one row of journals in the periodical section of the Harold B. Lee Library. If you've never been inside of a University library, you should stop what you're doing and visit one now! The size, the feelings, and the smells are all amazing (I love the smell - rarely changes from library to library).
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