Now that you have (hopefully) found many resources on your topic, it is time to pick the best ones for your research paper/project.
This page will help you to focus in on the types of sources (academic, scholarly, peer-reviewed, refereed) that instructors commonly require for research papers and projects.
Scholarly Resources: Each fact or opinion is documented (author provides a list of references with the title, author, and page number of the resource used).
Peer-reviewed Resources: Selected and approved by a panel of experts. This term usually refers to journal articles. Many online databases allow you to limit your searches to peer reviewed/refereed articles.
Ask the following questions to find whether an article is a quality scholarly resource:
Journal vs. Trade Publication / Magazine
What sort of publication is it? If you aren't sure how to tell, see the chart below:
|Scholarly Journals||Popular Journals||Trade Journals|
|Purpose||Informs and reports on original research done by scholars and experts in the field.||Entertains and informs a general audience without providing in-depth analysis.||Reports on industry trends and new products or techniques useful to people in a trade or business.|
|Authors||Articles are written by subject specialists and experts in the field.||Articles are written by journalists, freelance writers, or an editorial staff.||Articles are written by specialists in a certain field or industry.|
|Audience||Intended for a limited audience - researchers, scholars, and experts.||Intended for a broad segment of the population, appealing to non-specialists.||Intended for practititioners in a particular profession, business, or industry.|
- Is the author a recognized expert on the article's topic?
- Is the author affiliated with a college or university?
- Does the author have a master's or doctoral degree in a relevant discipline?
- Is the author giving a biased interpretation of the facts?
- Is the article in a peer-reviewed journal?
TIP-EBSCO databases, including the EBSCO Greenfile, will list whether a journal is peer reviewed. Simply go to the article's full citation page and click on the journal's name. Peer Reviewed: Yes should appear at the bottom of the next page.
- Does the article have a list of references / bibliography?
- How long is the article? (Longer is usually better.)
- Does the article include primary research in the form of interviews, surveys, or data from a research study?
- Is information accurate and current?
What makes a good website?
Try this Website Evaluation Guide to discover ways to evaluate web sources.
HINT--Remember that About Us links on a site provide valuable information about the person or organization responsible for the website and its content.