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FYS 100 -- American Schools: A Culture of Violence -- Fall 2018: Reputable or Not?

Evaluating What You Find: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Why evaluate sources? Remember:

  • Anyone with a little time, some knowledge and small amount of money can publish on the Internet.
  • No person, persons or organization reviews the content of the Internet.
  • Pages are retrieved by search engines based on the page's content, not the relevancy or quality of the page.
  • Much information on the Web is not updated regularly.

The following four criteria can help you to evaluate your sources:

Authority--Who is the author? What is his expertise? Who is the publisher?
Accuracy--Is it well-researched? Is there a bibliography or references so you can locate the original source of the information? Do the facts jive with other sources?
Objectivity--Is there bias? Is the information promoting a specific point of view or is it objective?
Currency--Is the information up-to-date? Is it too dated to be useful?

Thinking about any type of publication, including websites, in this way will help ensure that you have located the best information available.


Scholarly vs. Popular

How do you know if an article you've found in a database is from a scholarly journal? Consult this table:

C.R.A.A.P. Test

Click the icon below to view a brief video about evaluating sources for research papers.

Scholarly, Popular, or Trade?


Different types of publications have different purposes and different audiences. When we talk about journals and magazines, we can usually divide these publications into three categories: 

  • scholarly
  • popular
  • trade

One very important difference between scholarly journals and other types of publications is peer review.

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