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Research Guides

Scholarly Sources

 journal covers     

Reliability rating

Reliability Rating 

A scale from least to most reliable with a white arrow pointing to most reliable.

 

GREEN: Be thoughtful, these sources undergo a fairly stringent editorial and peer-review process but quality can vary.

What are scholarly articles?

What are scholarly articles and academic journals?

Academic journals and scholarly articles share the following characteristics:

  • They are written for every subject area or academic discipline.
  • They are written by professors, researchers and other scholars
  • They disseminate research and scholarly discussions among scholars (faculty, researchers, students) in a discipline.  
  • They are published by professional associations, university publishers or other academic publishers
  • They are highly specialized and may use technical language
  • They may include graphs and tables
  • They will will cite their sources and include footnotes/endnotes and/or a bibliography/reference list.
  • Most importantly they are peer reviewed (refereed) before publication.

Peer Reviewed (Refereed) Journals

What is peer review?

Need to verify that a journal is peer reviewed (refereed)? Search the Icon of a padlock Ulrichsweb periodicals directory for the title of the journal, if you see this icon icon of a referee jersey the journal is refereed.

Evaluate Scholarly Sources

ASK YOURSELF:  Is this a TRAAP?  

The TRAAP Test helps you to evaluate the information that you find.  Different criteria will be more or less useful depending on your need.

 

Timeliness: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Have newer articles been published on your topic?
  • Does your topic require current information or will older sources also work?
  • Are the links functional?

 

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

 

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author / publisher / source / sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the source?  (More info about URLs and Internet Domains)

 

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the information

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

 

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information?  Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
  • Do the authors / sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

 

Credits: Content used on this page was adapted from "Is this source of information good?" from Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.