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INF461 Research Skills Guide: Evaluate

Evaluate

So, you have found articles, books and maybe even some web resources.

How can you tell whether your resources are suitable for your assessment? Have you been asked to use peer reviewed or refereed articles?

The videos below will help you to pick up strategies to evaluate Library resources, web resources and find peer reviewed articles.

Evaluate information

Currency

Is it current enough for your topic?

A general rule is to use resources published in the last 5 years.

Reliability

Is the source reputable? Is it peer reviewed?

Does the creator provide references?

Do those references pass the CRAP test?

Authority

Who is the creator or author?

What are their qualifications?

Are they an expert in the field?

Purpose

Is it fact or opinion?

Is it biased or balanced?

Is the creator trying to sell you something?

Evaluate internet resources

The type of domain provides you a hint as to the reliability of the website at which you are looking.

.edu (educational institution)

.gov (government)

 

These are more likely to be reliable and unbiased.

.org (non-profit organisation)

.asn (non-commercial organisation)

 

Sometimes these organisations can be biased toward one side of an issue that is actually quite complex.

.com (commercial site)

.net (network)

Try to avoid these sites as they are likely to be unreliable.

.net is the domain given to any site that doesn't fit into the other domain categories.

If you find a .com or .net site that you think is ok, look at the currency, reliability, authority and purpose to see if your suspicion is supported by evidence.

Find Peer reviewed articles

Articles published in peer reviewed or refereed journals have been through a formal approval process. This process is intended to ensure that the article is:

  • accurate
  • well-researched
  • contributing to the body of knowledge in the field

To find peer reviewed articles:

  • Select to show only peer reviewed journals in Primo Search
  • Limit to peer reviewed or scholarly journals in journal databases

However, as these options are just an indication of peer review status the definitive way to find out if your article has been peer reviewed is to use Ulrichsweb Global Periodicals Directory.

Evaluating information

Peer Review