Depending on your information need, use the following criteria to determine if a source is providing good information.
Currency: The timeliness of the information.
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Authority: The source of the information.
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
Developed by Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.
For more help evaluating sources, click here.
Characteristics of a Scholarly Source:
Example of a Scholarly Source:
Advances in Wound Care: The Journal for Prevention and Healing
Characteristics of a Popular Source:
Example of a Popular Source:
Sometimes it is not practical to read an entire book when only a chapter is devoted to the information you are seeking.
Practice skimming, keyword searches, and review tactics.
Can I use Google for research (or Bing, Yahoo, etc.)?
Yes, but proceed with caution.
What to use instead of Google:
Can I use Wikipedia as a source?
What to use instead of Wikipedia:
Chances are you have noticed every organization has a social media account from which they engage with their users and the world at large. They do this through sharing outside articles, images, recommending books, movies, etc. They also share original content on platforms such as blogs, Facebook statuses, Tweets, and Instagram.
These resources are not inherently unreliable because of the platform, if the authority of the author is still verifiable. The APA provides formatting for citing some of these nontraditional sources such as blogs, online forums and discussion boards, and podcasts. The trouble lies in verifying that authority on social media accounts. Public figures are allowed to verify their accounts which provides a public indicator of the validity of their credibility and identity.
On Facebook a verified account looks like this:
Other social media platforms employ similar iconography to verify identity.
Not every academic is considered a public figure and may not be able to verify their accounts in this method. Some research on the individual (if named) may verify their education, publications, etc.
Open Source academic journals are growing in popularity and these are usually made freely available online, are peer-reviewed, and may be shared on social media or blogs by non-scholarly users (use is still subject to copyright laws and citation guidelines).