After you have located an information source you need to discern whether it is of suitable academic quality for your use.
There is no definitive way to calculate the quality of an information source. However, there are certain indicators that, in combination, can help you determine if the source you are considering is reputable. Using these in conjunction will enable you to form a rounded opinion on the quality of most information sources.
The C.R.A.P. test is a set of criteria you can use to evaluate most types of information sources, such as journal articles, books, and websites. Ask yourself the following questions to evaluate the resource against the criteria of Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose.
Articles published in peer-reviewed or refereed journals have been through a formal approval process. An editor and one or more subject specialists review the article before it is accepted for publication. This process is intended to ensure that the article is accurate, well-researched, and contributes to the body of knowledge in the field.
While most databases offer a peer-review limiter, Ulrichsweb Global Periodicals Directory is the best place to confirm the peer-review status of a journal. This is because Ulrichsweb isn't like most databases - instead of collecting articles, Ulrichsweb is a specialised database that collects information about journals.
To check if an article comes from a peer reviewed journal:
If you searched by journal title, you may get more than one result for the same journal. This sometimes indicates that there is both a hard copy and an electronic copy of this journal.
If you are unsure, you can always go back to the article record from your original search and get the journal's ISSN number from there. The ISSN is a unique number that is delegated to each journal.
Note: only the scholarly articles in a peer-reviewed journal will have been peer-reviewed. Other documents such as book reviews and opinion pieces will not have been peer-reviewed, and would not be considered "academic quality".
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