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HML (Health Management and Leadership): Evaluate Resources


Using credible information will improve the quality of your assessment and may result in better marks, but how can you tell whether the resources you've found are credible and suitable for your assessment? Have you been asked to use peer reviewed or refereed articles? Are you using authoritative websites?

The information below will help you evaluate the information you find, in books, journal articles, or online to make sure it’s reliable.

What is peer-review?

Peer-reviewed articles are:

  • written by subject experts
  • reviewed by other subject experts ("peers')
  • published in peer-reviewed journals.

Peer-reviewed journals are sometimes called refereed journals.

Peer-reviewed articles and journals are regarded as being more scholarly and authoritative than article and journals that are not peer-reviewed.

How to check if an article/journal is peer-reviewed

In Primo Search, the refiner for Show Only > Peer Reviewed Journals appears to the left of the results listPrimo Search 

With a set of results in Primo Search, you can use the Show only > Peer-reviewed Journals option to refine your results to articles from peer-reviewed journals.







The Peer-reviewed journals limiter in a database will be with the other limiters, often in the left or right hand columnDatabases

Some databases offer the option to limit searches or refine results to peer-reviewed journals.






The peer-review symbol appears in search results in the Ulricsweb database in the second column from the leftUlrichsweb Global Serials Directory 

The most reliable way to check whether a journal is peer-reviewed is to check in the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory:

  1. Locate Ulrichsweb in CSU Library’s list of U-Databases
  2. Use the default Basic Search to find the journal you are checking. Type in the name of the journal in double quotation marks.
  3. In the table of results, if the “Refereed” column for the journal includes an icon of a referee’s shirt, then the journal is peer-reviewed.


Publisher information on this example of a journal website states that all manuscripts are subject to double-blind peer reviewJournal’s website 

If you go to a journal website, information on peer-review will usually be included in a section on information for authors or publication policies and procedures. A good way to find the website for a journal is to check the journal record in Ulrichsweb!!

Understanding health research

Understanding Health Research: A Tool for Making Sense of Health Studies 

This site from UK helps you interpert and evaluate a published health research paper.

The Review a Study module guides you through a series of questions about a piece of research you have found, and helps you to evaluate the quality of the research.

The Useful Information Page will help you understand the some of different terminology and concepts used in health research.

Evidence Based Practice Learning Modules from NSW Health

These Learning Modules have been developed to support NSW Health clinicians gain skills to integrate the best available evidence into practice. Each Learning Module covers a different aspects of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP).

Critical appraisal or critiquing the literature

Reading critically

The Sage Research Methods Online database (SRMO) is a good source of full text electronic Books, chapters, and articles on a range of research methodologies.  It includes a wide range of items in relation to literature review processes, and importantly how to read critically.


Goodwyn, A. & Stables, A. W. (2004). Learning to Read Critically: Learning to read critically in language and literacy : SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781849209410

Quinton, S. & Smallbone, T. (2006). How to read critically. In Sage Study Skills: Postgraduate research in business (pp. 81-96). : SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781849209564.n6

Help from a Librarian

Evaluating literature

While you are searching for relevant information about your topic you will need to think about the accuracy of the information, whether the information is from a reputable source, whether it is objective and current. The basic criteria for assessing information and questions you might want to think about are listed below. 


  • Is the information reliable?
  • Is the information error-free?
  • Is the information based on proven facts?
  • Can the information be verified against other reliable sources?


  • Who is the author?
  • Does he or she have the qualifications to speak/write on that topic?
  • Is the author affiliated with a reputable university or organization in this subject field?
  • Is the source peer reviewed or refereed?


  • What is the intended purpose of the information?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Is the information biased?


  • When was the information published?
  • Is the information current or out-dated?
  • Does currency matter in this topic?


  • Does the information covered meet your information needs?
  • Does it provide basic or in depth coverage

Further Reading: