The database Ulrichsweb includes information on whether a journal is peer-reviewed. Search the journal title and look for Yes in the "Refereed" designation. This designation does not include sections of a journal other than research articles.
Peer-reviewed (or refereed) articles have been thoroughly vetted by one or more experts in the same discipline as the author. It is considered very importat when publishing quantified results of empirical scientific research. The process can result in major revisions to the manuscript, as the peer reviewers examine and question the hypothesis, methodology, analysis, and conclusions of the author.
Primary articles are written by the researcher, reporting results directly in their own words, typically in a scholarly journal that is both peer-reviewed and edited for accuracy and clarity. Primary research articles are written for researchers with specialized knowledge in the subject. In science, primary articles usually include an abstract, introduction, methods, results (with analysis) and conclusion. Use of first-person pronouns is a good indication of a primary article (e.g. "We intend to demonstrate... or, Our results indicate...").
Secondary articles or reviews are a step removed from primary research results. The author summarizes research results of other authors (and may include reference to their own research, as appropriate), synthesizing and analyzing a number of research papers to create a coherent overview of a subject. Annual Reviews Inc. is particularly good source of exhaustive review articles in dozens of academic disciplines.
Tertiary sources bring together facts, data, terminology, methodology, research findings, and related information to present succinct summaries, generally at a level that does not require expert or specialized knowledge for comprehension. Encyclopedias, handbooks, and guides are examples of tertiary sources.
Review articles are easily identified in journal article databases by limiting or refining search results to the publication type "review." Try also Annual Reviews, described below, and journals published in ScienceDirect (Elsevier) with titles beginning Trends in...
Many databases offered on the library's website include the full text of articles. Click on the pdf or html icon to download the article.
If full text is not available, click the 360 Link icon to see if there is access from another source. Look for: displayed for each item in the databases offered from the library's website. In Google Scholar, look for Find Full Text @ Oberlin. Access at publisher's websites is generally limited to subscribers.
Full-text is not always accessible for immediate download. The 360 Link may lead to an intermediary page that offers access through Interlibrary loan. If you have trouble, consult library staff.