PSYC 1094: Evaluating Information
Looking for a guide to reading and understanding a scientific research study paper, with tips for evaluating such articles? Try this blog post on "How to Read and Understand a Scientific Paper: A Guide for Non-Scientists," by Jennifer Raff. Though it is targeted to 'non-scientists,' even scientists may find this series of steps useful. It may also come in handy if you're working with people outside of higher education who want to better understand university research publications for their use in education, policy, or industry.
Criteria for Evaluating Sources
Watch this short video produced by Western University in Canada on how to apply the CRAAP test to evaluate your sources that you may have found!
Is my article peer-reviewed?
Searching to find out whether or not that article you found is peer-reviewed? Use Ulrich's Periodical Database to look up the JOURNAL NAME. If the black-and-white referee shirt appears, your journal is peer-reviewed!
- Ulrichsweb: Global Serials DirectoryUlrichsweb is an easy to search source of detailed information on more than 300,000 periodicals (also called serials) of all types: academic and scholarly journals, e-journals, peer-reviewed titles, popular magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and more. Information about periodicals includes: whether a journal is peer reviewed, scholarly, trade, or popular; in which databases it is indexed; publication dates and title changes; journal and publisher policies for the self-archiving of articles by authors; and links to Journal Citation Reports for impact factors.
Basic Evaluation Criteria
As you decide which resources to include in your research, here are some things to think about:
Authority: Who wrote it? What sort of expertise do they have in this area?
Coverage: Is it relevant to your topic?
Objectivity: Is there any bias? If so, how much?
Accuracy: Is the information correct? Is it in alignment with other research findings or articles?
Currency: When was your resource produced? Does this matter for your topic?