This guide is designed to show you how you can recognize high quality information in print and on the Internet by developing critical evaluation skills.
Finding credible print and online resources for your research papers can be challenging. You want your information to be accurate, and from reputable sites and authors. This Guide will help you to start looking at websites and paper sources with a more skillful eye.
For both paper and online resources, there are certain criteria to look at:
|These general guidelines are designed to help you distinguish between the three main types of periodicals: popular magazines, trade magazines, and scholarly journals. Not all periodicals can be easily classified. If you aren't sure whether a publication is appropriate for your assignment, ask for help at the Information Desk or from your instructor.|
|What if you are using an online, full-text article? It's a little trickier determining what a scholarly article is when you don't have the whole journal or magazine in your hand. Here are some clues that may help you:|
<1) Look for a list of references
(a bibliography) at the end of the article.
2) If the article is less that half a page in length, it is not a research article.
3) Look for credentials after the author(s) name.
4) If the title of the publication has the word "journal" in it, chances are it is scholarly.
5) In some article databases (indexes) you can limit your search to "peer reviewed" journals (scholarly journals).
6) Use the chart above to help you evaluate the article.
Finally, if you are still unsure, ask for help at the Information Desk or from your instructor!