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GEOG110: World Geography: Evaluation



What kind of article is it?

Evaluating Article Type
  Scholarly Popular
Audience Academics, Specialists in a particular field general public, people without a degree in the subject
Language Specific to field, jargon Everyday language
Author Author’s credentials listed, institution affiliation listed No credentials or affiliations
Look and feel Structured format, statistics, tables, illustrations that support text No specific format, illustrations color and glossy, commercial in nature
Research Based on author’s original work/research Reporting on other’s research
Length and Coverage Long articles with in depth analysis Short articles with broad overview
Editors Often “peer reviewed” by experts in the field Reviewed in a general sense, not by experts in the field
Bibliography/Citations? Yes Probably not

Which is better?
It all depends on your assignment (or what you’re looking for). If you need to get an overview of a topic or issue, a popular article may serve this purpose. If you require in-depth analysis, case study, or research, then a scholarly article may better meet this need.

How is this useful to me?

Evaluating Content
Useful How relevant is this source to your topic?
Does this source offer new information or answers to your questions?
Timely Is this source older or newer?
Does your topic require the latest information and/or historical information?
Appropriate Is this a scholarly source or a source geared toward a general audience?
What level of research do you need?
Authoritative Are author credentials given?
Is the work fair or biased?
Are research methodologies or procedures (if any) discussed?

What about Web sites?
There is a lot of good information to be found online. That said, there is much to consider when using a web source.
Consider the following:

  • What is the the domain (e.g.: .org, .com, .edu, etc.)?
  • Is an author listed? Is there any indication of the author's credentials or institutional affiliation?
  • Is there any indication of the date of the information?
  • Can you corroborate information with a published source?