Evaluating Resources


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

What Is a Scholarly Source?


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.  Aggregate databases such as ProQuest, Psych Info, or ERIC are limited, for the most part, to scholarly sources that are adequately documented.  Terms to look for when limiting your search are peer reviewed,  juried, or refereed.


A  university librarian can help you limit your searches to scholarly sources.

A List of Online Resources for Evaluating Reliability of Sources


Evaluating Sources of Information

Purdue University Online Writing Lab

"Research: Critically Read and Evaluate the Sources"
In How to Write a Research Paper, Purdue University OWL


The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources
New Mexico State University Library


Evaluate Your Sources

With Link to "Scholarly Journals, Magazines, Trade Journals: What's the difference?"

Virginia Commonwealth University


Overview: Evaluating Sources

The Writing Center at Colorado State University


Evaluating Sources of Information

San Diego State University Library &Information Access


Evaluating Sources: Can I Really Trust This Information?
University of Georgia


What is a Scholarly Journal?

St. John's University/College of St. Benedict, Minnesota




Coming to Grips with Reading and Writing Academic Articles

Amanda Graham, Yukon College


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© 2004 The Writing Center, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus
Updated August 2004