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Identify and Evaluate Sources

101 help to identify types of sources and evaluate them


"evaluation - the process of judging something's quality, importance, or value, or a report that includes this information"


Is the source credible and appropriate to my research?



How current is information? Is it up to date?

What is the copyright, publication, or posting date? 

Is the information time-sensitive and outdate?


How important information for my research?

Does it relate to the topic and research questions?

Am I from intended audience?


Who is author? Publisher? Sponsor? Creator?

What is his/her affiliation? Background? Credentials? Contacts/?


Can you trust the source? Is it scholarly or peer-reviewed?

Where did it come from? References or evidences? 

Errors? Broken links?


Is it a fact? Biased opinion or argument and balanced view of the topic?

Is the purpose clearly stated? To inform? To advertise? To persuade?

At what stage of the research project the source may be useful?‚Äč


encyclopedia, general introductions, overview

background exhibit, argument, method

tertiary sources, primary sources, raw data

primary, secondary sources; literature review

research study procedures, methodologies, manuals, handbooks, strict definitions, and discipline specific vocabulary

Bizup, Joseph. “BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing.” Rhetoric Review 27.1 (2008): 72-86. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 4 February 2014

Redistributed from the LibGuide of Andrea Baer and Dan Kipnis at Rowan University and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC-BY-NC-SA).

Created by Dawn Stahura of Salem State University Library, this aims to shift the focus of evaluating information from an "informed cultural producers" rather as a consumer of information. ACT UP aims to "actively engage in dismantling oppressions" and do more proactive evaluation. 



Hijacked journals & Predatory Publishers

Predatory publishers

  • hijack credible and reputable journals
  • take over domain name
  • duplicate website
  • name journal very similar to the original, with fake impact factors and editorial board
  • guarantee quick publishing with a little or no peer-review
  • distribute emails asking authors to submit their papers or monographs
  • charge excessive authors fees.

Find the checklist to evaluate the reputation of journals in Selecting a Journal for Publication: Predatory Publishing.

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