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Evaluating Resources  

This is a guide for evaluating information sources such as websites, periodical articles, and books.
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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This guide will help direct you to resources on evaluating information.

On the right is a video to help you evaluate periodical sources; below that are tips for determining types of periodical.

To do a quick search of the library's catalog, use the Search box (top right).

For tips on evaluating any source, click on the Evaluation Criteria tab.

For book suggestions, click on the Books tab.

To find evaluation-related web resources, click on the Websites tab.

Click the News! tab to see more sources on evaluation.


Evaluating Periodical Sources

To write good papers, you need to evaluate the quality of periodical articles.  Know the differences among periodical types.


What kind of journal is this?

When researching, you will come across a variety of different types of journals. Most journals and magazines fall into one of the following three categories: scholarly, popular, and trade publications. Read on to find out how to tell the difference between these types of journals.

Scholarly Journals Popular Journals Trade Journals
Purpose Informs/reports on original research done by scholars and experts in the field. Entertains and informs a general audience without providing in-depth analysis. Reports on industry trends, new products or techniques useful to people in a trade or business.
Authors Articles are written by subject specialists and experts in the field. Articles are written by journalists, freelance writers, or an editorial staff. Articles are written by specialists in a certain field or industry.
Audience Intended for a limited audience - mainly researchers, scholars, and experts. Appeals to a broad segment of the population.
Intended for people in a particular profession, business, or industry.
Appearance Simple cover design, few images or ads. May include charts, graphs, data.
Glossy, colorful, many images and lots of advertising. Often glossy paper; images/advertisements relate to specific field or profession.
Article length
Tend to be lengthy, may include original research, in-depth analysis, very specific focus.
Typically brief, from less than 1 page to several pages. Short to medium length articles.
Original research, literary criticism and theory, literature review, in-depth analysis of topic.
Short, feature-length articles, news and general interest topics. Articles about professional trends, new products or techniques, industry-related news.
Writing style
Use terminology, language and jargon relevant to the discipline. Simple language used, written for general public. Technical, field-specific language used, assumes reader familiar with industry.
References Articles typically include references, notes, works cited.
Articles typically do not have references. Articles sometimes have references.

Shakespeare Quarterly

Journal of the American Medical Association


Rolling Stone

Sports Illustrated

Automotive News

Strategy & Business

Advertising Age

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