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How to Evaluate Research Resources 

There are several factors to keep in mind when selecting resources for research papers:  

Author

  • Review the author’s qualifications, such as education and previous works. 

Publisher

  • Evaluate the authority of the source. Is the work published by an academic source such as a university or a scholarly society, or other reputable sources such as government or non-profit agencies?
  • For journals, is the journal peer reviewed?
  • Be skeptical about materials published on the internet—anyone can be their own publisher.  

Purpose

  • For whom and for what reason was the material published? 
  • Evaluate the intended audience of the work. Is it addressed to scholars or a more general audience? 

Currency

  • Take note of when the material was published. Is the information still current or has it become outdated? 

Content/Accuracy

  • Evaluate the depth of coverage for the particular topic.
  • Ensure that facts can be verified, and that the work includes a bibliography.
  • Evaluate the objectivity of the work: does it examine all sides of the issue?
  • Is the material a primary source (such as a new research study) or a secondary source (material which analyses or describes research done by others)?