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Humanities Division: Evaluating Sources

This guide is directed at students and staff in the various Humanities departments in the Faculty of Humanities & Education. Citing, MLA, Plagiarism, Evaluating sources

Evaluation Guidelines: any information format

This tutorial (David L. Rice Library, Instructional Services. University of Southern Indiana, Dec. 2009) discusses how to evaluate resources in any format whether print or electronic.

Evaluating Sources:Scholarly vs. Popular Journals

A tutorial (Peabody Library, Vanderbilt University) on the differences between scholarly and popular periodicals, both in print and on line.

Evaluating Sources

Some of the information you find for your assignments will be relevant and credible, some will not, and much will be somewhere in-between.

Research is about finding suitable information and evaluating it for relevance and credibility.

The quality of  your information is more important than the quantity.

Different types of sources have different requirements for their authors. By knowing these "quality filters", readers can identify which sources provide more authoritative information.

Type of Source

“Filters” in Place

  • No requirements other than technical ones. 
  • Anyone can publish to the web
  • Editor
  • Experience as an investigative reporter required but not necessarily subject qualifications
  • Editor
  • Experience as a magazine/newspaper writer required In many cases, also requires subject expertise but not always
  • Editor
  • Peer review committee (often)
  • Subject expertise absolutely required
  • Scholarly method and writing required
Academic Book
  • Same as Journal
  • Editor
  • Subject qualifications not necessarily required though good researching skills needed
Government Publication
  • Editor
  • Subject qualifications not necessarily required though good researching skills needed
Hunt, Fiona, and Jane Birks. More Hands-On Information Literacy Activities.
    New York: Neal-Schuman, 2008. 121. Print.