Source evaluation is the process of critically evaluating information in relation to a given purpose in order to determine if it is appropriate for the intended use.
Lecturers expect students to use scholarly sources: using better sources often results in better grades!
Information can be out-of-date, inaccurate, and even purposely misleading (such as propaganda).
Some forms of information, such as websites, allow anyone to contribute content or exist only to sell products or ads by generating traffic.
As a student you know that your work is to evaluate the sources you use for your papers, presentations and research. But how do you do it?
These steps are most appropriate for evaluating sources:
What does the author know about the subject?
Does the author have an agenda?
Where did the author get the information?
When was the material written?
5. Review and Editing
Has the material been reviewed for publication?
Is it Scholarly & Peer-Reviewed?
Peer review is a publication process that ensures contributions made to the scholarly community are based on accurate, reliable, and original research findings and analysis:
1) Scholar(s) writes and submits article to an academic journal.
2) The academic journal sends the research article to a panel of experts in the subject area or discipline.
3) Experts review the article to ensure it is accurate,well-argued, and presents original research-based knowledge.
4) Article is accepted for publication, returned to the author(s) for revisions, or rejected.
A highly educated specialist who conducts research in a particular branch of study.
The process by which scholars critically evaluate each other's research article prior to publication in an academic journal.
A type of publication produced as an open- ended series at regular intervals, or “periods,” such as daily, monthly, quarterly or annually.
A type of periodical that includes original research articles written by researchers and experts in a particular academic discipline, providing a forum for the production and critique of new and existing knowledge.
A formally written article that describes new knowledge or ideas based on original research, analysis and/or interpretation
When choosing a resource or website, use your critical thinking skills and the 5 Ws.
Who wrote this?
What is the purpose of the resource?
When was the resource published?
Where is the information from?
Why is this resource reliable?
It is important to evaluate where and what you search and find. One way to do this is to try out the CRAAP test for websites, books, articles and a range of resources.