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KATHRYN A. MARTIN LIBRARY

WRIT 3160: Advanced Writing: Social Sciences

Spring 2018

Evaluating Information

It can be difficult to know what is a quality source and what isn't. Here are a few things to look for when evaluating web resources:

  • Authority and accuracy: Who authored the information? What are their credentials?
  • Intended audience: Is the information directed to a particular group? (researchers, consumers, etc.)
  • Purpose of information: Is the information designed to educate? To market an idea or product?
  • Date created & updated: Is the web site well maintained and recently updated?
  • Contact information: Is it possible to contact the author or institution?

Identifying Resources by Type

 

Scholarly Journals

Trade Magazines

Popular Magazines

 

Purpose

 

Communicate research and scholarly ideas

Provide trends, information, and professional support to particular industry

Provide information and entertainment to general readers

Appearance

Simple cover design, few images or ads. Some include charts, graphs, statistics

Often glossy paper, images/advertisements relate to trade

Glossy, colorful, many images and lots of advertising

Authors

Experts in the field, Researchers.  Author names, credentials, and institutional affiliation listed

Magazine staff or writers affiliated with the trade/industry. Often published by trade organization or assoc.

Journalists, freelance writers, magazine staff (names often not given)

Audience

Scholars, researchers, students

Practitioners in the field, members of a particular profession

General public

Article Length

Tend to be longer, may include research, in-depth analysis, very specific focus

Length varies

Typically shorter articles, from less than 1 page to several pages.

Content

Original research, literary criticism and theory, literature review, in-depth analysis of topic

Articles about professional trends, new products or techniques, and industry-related news

Short, feature-length articles.  News and general interest topics

Writing Style

Uses terminology, language and jargon relevant to the discipline

Technical, field-specific language used, assumes readers familiar with industry

Simple language used, written for general public

References
or
Bibliographies

Articles typically include references, notes, works cited

Articles sometimes have references listed

References typically not listed

Examples

Shakespeare Quarterly

Journal of the American Medical Association

Journal of Political Economy

Automotive News

Strategy & Business

 Advertising Age

Newsweek

Rolling Stone

Sports Illustrated

 

 

   
   

What is a Peer Reviewed Journal?

When an instructor requires students to find journal articles he/she will usually expect articles from peer-reviewed journals.

Peer review is the process by which an author's peers read a paper submitted for publication.

A number of recognized researchers in the field will evaluate the manuscript and recommend its publication, revision, or rejection.

Articles accepted for publication through a peer review process implicitly meet the discipline's expected standards of expertise.