Peer review (also known as "Refereed") happens in all parts of academia. It is especially important in the sciences because peer reviewed journal articles are the primary source of new information and discoveries in the sciences. Peer review has developed over many years as the primary system to make sure accurate, reliable and original research findings are published in the journal literature. The video "Peer Review in 3 Minutes" offers a quick explanation of the peer review process.
First make sure it IS a research article. Not every article in a journal is about research, they can include editorials, book reviews and other types of articles.
To verify the peer reviewed aspect of a journal several options are available to you:
Extensive information about current periodicals, including editors, peer-review, contents, and coverage.