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Resource Evaluation

A guide for evaluating the differences between resources when doing research.

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Why evaluate information resources?

All information needs to be selected or chosen.

Evaluation occurs when the researcher selects one source over another, for a SPECIFIC REASON. You do this intrinsically when you are learning about a topic.

Computers and search engines do not make evaluative decisions, YOU do!

Information sources are NOT GOOD OR BAD…ALL information has value.

VALUE is dependent on context and is measured in light of...

  • the topic
  • the discipline
  • type of assignment
  • presentation style

Primary vs. Secondary, Subjective vs. Objective

Primary: a first-hand account of an event or the original report of research findings

Secondary: an account of an event from someone other than those in attendance or an analysis of a research study

Subjective: from one point of view

Objective: review of many different points of view

Learn more using the tabs on the left about the various sources.

Scholarly vs. Popular

Scholarly: created for those who study the discipline, meant to inform, create new knowledge, researched, written or created by someone who has the knowledge, education and expertise to do so

Popular: created with a general audience in mind, meant to entertain, topics of interest, not researched; written by a staff writer.

Accuracy or Reliability

Peer reviewed (refereed) :

A process, where experts in the field read and review an artilcle in order to determine if it should be published. They check for accurcy and validity of the research and currency of topic. The Journal practices this process.

In order to tell  if an article in a specific journal could be called peer reviewed, use Ulrich's to identify the journals' refereed satus (referee shirt in the second column).

Note: All peer reviewed resources are scholarly, but not all scholarly sources go through the process of peer review before they are published.