Evaluating Sources

What is a scholarly source?  How can you tell if your source is reliable?
Does it provide the necessary documentation for APA citation?


Scholarly Sources

Sources consulted for scholarly papers generally  

  • have been reviewed by professional experts (peers, juries) in the field of study,
  • contain content regarded as scholarly by professionals in the field,
  • are archived (stored for availability) for a significant length of time, and
  • provide full documentation for citation and retrieval

The best way to limit your research to scholarly sources is to rely on professional or university databases, indexes, and catalogues.  On the Internet, for example, search engines like Yahoo, Google, or Lycos yield a range of sources, from scholarly to downright silly.  Even "good" Internet sources may not provide the documentation you need for your reference list. On the other hand, you can select only scholarly sources by searching library databases such as ProQuest, EBSCO, Psych Info,or ERIC, where all sources are fully documented. 

A  university librarian can help you search the databases. At the top of this page you will find a link to the TC library Web page.


Internet Sources

The links below also provide good information about evaluating Web sources and other information sources.

Evaluating Resources:Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly

Virginia Commonwealth University

Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources

Esther Grassian,UCLA College Library

Critically Analyzing Information Sources

Joan Ormondroyd, Cornell University, Olin and Uris Libraries

Evaluation Criteria

Beck, Susan.  "Evaluation Criteria."   The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It’s a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources.  1997. 

10 C's for Evaluating Web Sources

Betsy Richmond
Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Clair (via Montgomery College)

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages

Jim Kapoun, Cornell University

Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Net

McGill Faculty of Medicine

Critical Evaluation of Resources

University of California Berkeley Library

Evaluate Web Pages

This site contains an interactive tutorial with audio, as well as sample Web pages from several domains.

Jan Alexander & Marsha Tate, Wolfgram Memorial Library, Widener University