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Identifying Scholarly Sources: Evaluating Sources

Differentiate between mass market, trade, and scholarly books and Distinguish between magazines, journals, scholarly journals and peer reviewed/refereed journals.

Evaluating Sources

Use this Worksheet to assist you in evaluating the reliability, scholarship and potential usefulness of any and all resources including Web sites. 

What to look for

Consider the following:
◦Purpose and Scope of the material
◦Source, Authorship, Publishing Body with regard to authority and scholarship
◦Content and Currency as to its reliability and relevance
◦Style and Functionality relating to its organization and ease of use
◦Bias look for balance
Kind of records retrieved
How well do they meet the information need?
Examine search query syntax
Determine default priority of operation
Adjust as needed
Number of hits
Meaning of the search terms used
For more information see "Evaluating Sources Worksheet" above.


Evaluating Websites

  1. Who owns the domain?  Look it up in WHOIS
  2. What type of domain is it? com/net; org; edu; gov/mil/us; non-US.
  3. Is "About" information provided?
  4. Is an author/creator of the page identified? Verify authority to speak on the topic
  5. Are sources documented? If linked, do the links work?
  6. Is there evidence of strong bias?
  7. Why was the page put on the Web?  Inform, Persuade, Sell, Satire or Parody, Other
  8. Are advertisements embedded in the Web site?
  9. Is the Web page appropriate for your purpose?

Web Site

Reference Librarian

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Janet "Miss T." Tillman
Robert L. Powell Library
The Master's University
21726 Placerita Canyon. Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91321