To maintain high levels of quality and reliability, the most respected and dependable journals require all manuscripts (potential articles) to be reviewed by other experts (peers) to determine whether the submitted scholarship meets the high standards of the journal.
This process is called peer review and journals that utilize peer review are often referred to as refereed journals.
To be sure you are using the highest quality research and scholarship in your projects you should gather your materials from peer reviewed journals / refereed journals
How can you be sure you are working with a peer-reviewed journal?
When searching library databases you will often have an option to limit to Peer Reviewed articles. For the database Academic Search Elite (EBSCO) sure to check the box for "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" found farther down the search page before completing your search:
For the database Gale Academic OneFile be sure to use Advanced Search so that you can click on the Peer-Reviewed Journals option
When searching OneSearch you can limit your results after you search by clicking on the "Peer-reviewed Journals" option found on the right-hand column of the results page:
For Sociological Abstracts limit to the Peer reviewed option either before or after searching.
However, you might find an article using Google Scholar. Since you can't limit to peer-reviewed journals with these techniques you need to use the database UlrichsWeb to determine if the journal that published your article was refereed (peer-reviewed).
For instance if I search for journals with the word "Climate" in the title UlrichsWeb indicates that:
Climate Dynamics is refereed (it is peer reviewed)
ClimateWire is not
Climate Regulation is not
WARNING the Black Book Icon (or referee icon) is the icon to watch for when determining if a journal is peer-reviewed (refereed). Do not pay any attention to the gold stars (which are labeled "reviewed" ... but in this case that just means the journal was "reviewed" by a librarian for UlrichsWeb ... it does NOT mean that the journal is "peer reviewed").
You can also click on the title of the entry - e.g. Rural Special Education Quarterly - and then click on the option "Additional Title Details" which will also confirm that the journal is indeed "peer reviewed".