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POLIS 121: Introduction to Politics & International Studies

Evaluating Resources

When evaluating sources consider:

Authority: Who is the author and publisher? What are their credentials?

Purpose: What is the intent of the author, editor, or publisher? Sometimes the introduction, preface, or back cover give hints at this!

Objectivity: What is the bias? How objective or subjective is the work? 

Accuracy: How credible is this source? Corroborate the information or arguments of the resource with other sources.

Currency: When was the work published? Is it relevant?

Scholarly vs. Popular 


Scholarly sources are written by researchers and scholars and are meant to support in-depth research. Often a scholarly source includes technical or formal language with references and suggested readings.

Example: a peer-reviewed journal article found on EBSCO or JSTOR


Popular sources are written by freelance writers or staff writers for a wide general audience in order to entertain, inform, or persuade.

Example: a news article, a Buzzfeed article

Peer-Reviewed and Academic Journals

What is peer-review?

A board of subject experts will review and evaluate journal articles before they are accepted for publication. A journal article can be a scholarly article and also not peer-reviewed.

Looking for peer-reviewed articles?

To ensure your results are going to be peer-reviewed, select peer-reviewed when using EBSCOhostJSTOR, or the library catalogue.


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