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Evaluating Information Sources: Articles

Library Guide

Why Evaluate Journal Articles?

It is important to critically evaluate journal articles for authority of author, scholarly value, and source credibility.

Evaluation Clues

How to evaluate a source based on the authority and credibility of the author:

  • look for biographical detail in the publication itself
  • search relevant research databases for other articles by this author
  • search sources for biographical information, such as authors' address/affiliation in research databases, websites, etc.
  • search citation databases for the impact of the author's work on subsequent research
    • e.g. Researchers Search in Web of Science will find other articles/books that cite or review a person's work
    • e.g. Authors Search in Scopus which will find other publication information that cite or review a person's work

How to evaluate a source for scholarly value:

  • Is the journal scholarly or popular?
  • Are the journal articles peer reviewed (or refereed)?
    • Peer reviewed (or refereed) journals are scholarly journals whose articles are reviewed by other experts in the field, prior to acceptance for publication.
    • To learn about peer-reviewed articles, check the video Peer Review in Three Minutes
  • Many research databases allow limiting your search to refereed/peer reviewed articles.
    • Tip: to confirm that a specific journal title is scholarly, search the title in ULRICHSWEB directory. Look for the Refereed icon or find the Refereed/Peer-reviewed information listed beside the journal search results.

Helpful Guides on Evaluating Journal Articles