HI2328 - History of Revolution in the 20th Century - Nakajima

Source Evaluation Guidelines

What Type of Journal is it?

Primary & Secondary Sources

Evaluation is a Process

The Important Questions of Evaluation:

The 5 Ws (and one H) The Surface-Level Questions The Deeper Questions

 

Who?

Who is the author, editor, or creator?

Is the author qualified to write about this topic? 

Who is the publisher?

What makes them qualified?

First-hand experience?

An advanced degree?

 

What?

What type of document is it?

For example, is it a newspaper article? A blog? A government website? A scholarly article? A book?  

What is it about?

There is no 'bad' type of document, but some have gone through a more rigorous review process than others.

 

When?

When was this source published?

Is the publication date appropriate for your research? 

The 'up-to-date'-ness of a source matters more for some research questions than others. 

 

Where?

Where did you find the source? In a peer-reviewed journal? In a library database? On a website?

For websites, what is the URL ending? For example, .com? .gov? .org? .edu? 

Be strategic about where you look for information. Which search tool, database, or website is most likely to have the kind of information you need. 

 

Why?

What was the goal of the author or publisher?

Is there bias? 

Bias does not necessarily negate credibility. We all have biases. The question then becomes: are those biases disclosed? Do they impact the quality of the information?

 

How?

How did the author(s) gather data and information?

Did they include citations?

Did they derive reasonable conclusions from the research?

Did the author(s) only cite themselves/their associates? How well did they explain their process? Was their work reviewed by anyone else?

Peer-Reviewed Journals

What is Peer-Review?

"A process by which a scholarly work (such as a paper or a research proposal) is checked by a group of experts in the same field to make sure it meets the necessary standards before it is published or accepted." - Merriam Webster

What are Peer-Reviewed Journals?

A peer-reviewed journal is a highly respected type of publication. Before articles are published within these types of journals, they are sent by the editors of the journal to other scholars in the field ("peers"), often anonymously, to get feedback on the quality of the scholarship, review research methods, as well as relevance or importance to the field. The article may be accepted, often with revisions suggested, or rejected for publication.