CC the_FirebottleThis website is an education resource for Key Stage 4 science teachers. The resource explains:

  • how scientific research results are selected for publication
  • the challenges the system encounters
  • the role of critical scrutiny in driving scientific knowledge forward

How to use this site
Navigate through the site using the menu on the left. You can browse these pages to learn more about peer review, or head directly to the teaching materials where you will find lesson plans and materials for download.

What is Peer Review?
Peer review is the process by which scientific progress is critically appraised by other scientists in order to validate the work. It is one of the most important checks and balances that exists in science. Peer review acts as a quality control on research, ensuring that the highest possible standard exists for all published work.

Why is this relevant?
Sense About Science believes a thorough understanding of peer review is essential to meeting the national curriculum requirement, expressed in statement 4c at key stage 4, that pupils should be taught:

how uncertainties in scientific knowledge and scientific ideas change over time and the role of the scientific community in validating these changes.”


The Peer Review Education Resource is made possible through the kind support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Elsevier, as well as the time and effort of many individuals. Sense About Science would like to thank all of those who took part for their work on this project.

PeerReviewHardCopy Peer Review and the Acceptance of New Scientific Ideas
“This really is a great resource to help the public understand how real science differs from quackery. Every scientist should have a couple of copies in their case ready for those unexpected conversations on the train or in the pub.”

Dr Chris Kirk, Chief Executive, The Biochemical Society

Copies available from Sense About Science

I Don’t Know What to Believe: Making Sense of Science Stories
Our short guide, written with input from patients, pharmacists and medical practitioners, among others, lets the public in on the arbiter of scientific quality: the peer review process.

“Rarely a week passes without a ‘miracle heart drug’ or ‘heart scare’ headline appearing in the national media. This can sometimes offer false hope or be very frightening for vulnerable heart patients. We welcome resources like this leaflet, which can help people to read between the lines of newspaper print.”

Jane Shepley, British Heart Foundation

Copies available from Sense About Science