Evaluating sources of information is an important step in any research activity. This sectionprovides information on evaluating bibliographic citations, aspects of evaluation, readingevaluation, print vs. online sources, and evaluating Internet sources.Evaluating sources means recognizing whether the information you read and include in yourresearch is credible. Despite the large amount of information available, both in print and online,not all of it is valid, useful, or accurate.Evaluating sources of information that you might includein your writing is an important step in any research process.When writing research papers, not only will you be searching for information, but you will beevaluating the sources for credibility. You have to decide where to look, how to recognizecredible sources, and how to cross-check your information. Learning how to evaluate effectivelyis a skill you need both for your course papers and for your life.
Scholarly vs. Popular SourcesMost sources fall into two categories:scholarlyandpopular.Scholarly sources are written byhighly-qualified researchers and have a thorough publication process, which usually involvespeer-reviewing and an extensive list of references at the end of the text.Scholarly sources oftenhave a specific audience in mind, most likely other experts in the particular field of study.Examples of scholarly sources include books and academic journals written by scholars andexperts.Popular sources, on the other hand, are written by and intended for a general audience. Popularsources are not peer-reviewed, and they do not usually include a reference list. Examples ofpopular sources range from some books and magazines to websites and blogs.