ENGL 252 - American Indian Literature

Evaluating Resources Check Sheet

Tools to Help You Evaluate Information

How do you weed through all the information available to you and select the best resource for your needs? Below are various tools to help you evaluate the type and content of information you may come across in your research. You can also use the check sheet in the left column. 

How Do You Know if Something is Scholarly? Peer Reviewed?

As an academic library, Meriam Library collects mostly scholarly resources. What does this mean? Scholarly resources:

1. Are written by experts (look for an author's credentials or affiliations)

2. Are written for other experts or people in academia (think of each scholarly work as another voice in an ongoing conversation)

3. Use scholarly language (technical, discipline specific vocabulary)

4. Provide verifiable and reliable evidence for claims (even if the resource is a general history/overview it will contain well researched information that the reader can verify)

5. May be peer reviewed (some journals go through an editorial process where other experts review the information) 

How do you know if a journal is peer reviewed? Some databases will let you check a box to limit to peer reviewed articles. You can also look at the journal's website which will explain the editorial process including whether or not the journal is peer reviewed. A reference resource you can consult to double check if a journal is peer reviewed is Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. Keep in mind that even if a journal is peer reviewed, not all content in the journal is necessarily peer reviewed. There may still be book reviews, editorials, and other parts of the journal that do not go through the same review process.  

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