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Information Literacy: Evaluating Resources: Home

(Video created by NCSU Libraries)


Popular and Scholarly Sources

► It's important to be able to differentiate between popular and scholarly sources when evaluating your information:





Example: Wired Magazine International Journal of Middle East Studies
Audience: Everybody, the general public Scholars and academics
Topics: Articles cover a wide range of topics Articles are narrowly focused, discipline-specific
Author(s): Paid journalists and writers Unpaid scholars, often professors
Language: Easy-to-read Difficult. Full of discipline-specific vocabulary
Citations: Very rarely Includes citations and lists of references
Cost: $15.00 yearly (12 Issues) $609.00 yearly (4 Issues)


Structure of a Scholarly Article

►  Your professor may ask you use only scholarly research articles. The following image outlines the major elements to look for in a research article:

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article part 1.



Most academic research articles follow a typical structure. As you can see, this design differs significantly from magazine or newspaper articles. Some key elements to look for are:


1) Author(s) and author affiliation: Who wrote the article? Where are they from? What are their credentials?

2) Abstract: A brief synopsis of what the article's about. It's a good idea to read this first to see if the article relates to your research.

3) References or Works Cited: This is a list of all the resources the author(s) used to inform their research

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article part 6.


Images borrowed from Capalla University Library. For a complete visual explanation of scholarly journal articles, visit their website here.

Evaluation Resources: The CRAAP Test


► As a researcher, it will be your job to carefully evaluate each of the sources you find during your research. But how you tell if something you find is or isn't reliable? Well, the CRAAP test can help.

CRAAP is a list of questions that you can use to carefully evaluate the resources you find. It will help you think through the process of determining a sources quality. If you're confused about anything, ASK A LIBRARIAN for help!


Currency: the timeliness of the information

When was the information published or posted?

Has the Information been revised or updated?

Does your topic require up-to-date information?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

Does the information related to your topic or answer your question?

Who is the intended audience of the resource?

Is the information appropriate for college-level research?

Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one to use?

Authoritythe source of the information

Who is the author and publisher of the resource? 

What are th author's credentials or organizational affiliations?

Is the author qualified to write on this topic?

If it's a website, what is the url of the source? (com, edu, gov, org)

Accuracythe reliability of the content

Where does the information come from? 

Is the information supported by evidence (cited)?

Has the resource been peer reviewed?

Purposethe reason the information exists

Who is the intended audience? The general public or academics? 

Is the information intended to inform, entertain, or sell?

Is this a first-hand account of an event or research?

Does the author have vested interested in the topic? Is their a possible bias?


Evaluating Sources Review Quiz


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