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Currency - Timeliness of information
When was the information published or posted?
Has the information been revised or updated?
Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?
Relevance - The importance of the information for your needs
Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
Who is the intended audience?
Is the information at an appropriate level?
Have you looked at a variety of sources before choosing this one?
Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
Authority - The source of the information for your needs
Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
Accuracy - The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
Where does the information come from?
Is the information supported by evidence?
Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
Can you verify any of the information in another source?
Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
Purpose - Reason the information exists
What is the purpose of the information?
Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
Types of Periodicals: Journals, Magazines, and Trade Magazines
Few or no advertisements
Scholars and college students
Scholars & researchers
Staff and freelance writers
Professionals and staff
Articles: long bibliographies
Might have a short bibliography
LENGTH OF ARTICLE
Can be 6-40 pages
Varies; often short
Varies, often short
Few or no pictures
University or professional
American Journal of Sociology
Crime and Delinquency
Journal of Sociology
Scholarly journals are expensive and available through academic libraries.
Magazines are available in bookstores and stores.
Fast Food Times
Trade magazines come with membership in a professional organization.
How to Read a Peer Reviewed Article
Check Your Sources
Is it Peer-Reviewed? Scholarly? Or a Consumer Magazine? Ulrichsweb is an easy to search source of detailed information on more than 300,000 periodicals (also called serials) of all types: academic and scholarly journals, e-journals, peer-reviewed titles, popular magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and more.