How can you tell if your sources meet assignment requirements? Your professors want you to evaluate sources for authority, credibility, currency, and usefulness.
- Find the author(s) and determine if they are expert(s) in the field of study.
- Check for citations or a reference list at the end of the source.
- Review the format and graphics. Scholarly or peer-reviewed articles begin with an abstract and usually do not have images other than graphs.
- Use databases in your subject area and start your search in best bets.
- Search for the journal title in Ulrichsweb. A referee icon () indicates a journal is peer-reviewed for quality by other experts in the field.
- Determine if your topic requires current research, findings, and news. If you are researching cancer treatments, you will need to limit your search to recent (last five years) articles to find the articles covering the latest advancements.
- Discover seminal articles (also known as landmark or pivotal studies) in your field of research (i.e. Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the field of psychology).
- Decide if a source is relevant or useful for your topic by reviewing the abstract (articles) or chapter titles (book).