Library DIY (beta)

Evaluate Your Sources

Evaluate your Sources

Evaluate your sources to determine whether a book, article, or film is relevant to your research.

1. What is it about?  For an article, read the title and abstract written by the author to know if it is related to the topic. For a book, read the title and table of contents to determine its pertinence.

2. What is the subject? Read the title of the resource to determine the subject area. For example, if you are researching climate change activism from a political science perspective, search for resources about climate change as a political issue, rather than a scientific occurrence.

3. Are you looking for current information? The publication date or copyright is important for certain fields, such as community health or the social sciences.

4. Is it scholarly? For books, look at the publisher. Is the book published by a University Press? For articles, investigate the journal (not the article). Search for the journal in Ulrichs International Periodicals Directory to determine whether the journal is peer reviewed.

5. What type of article is it? Not every article in a scholarly journal will be appropriate for your research. Peer reviewed journals contain book reviews, editorials, and interviews. Read the abstract written by the author to clarify what the article is about.

6. If it is a research study, what type is it? Some courses that require a specific type of research; quantitative, qualitative, empirical, or a case study. Usually the abstract usually identifies the type of study.