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ENC 3455: Writing for STEM

Evaluating & Reading Scholarly Articles

You've found your scholarly article using one of the suggested databases in this guide! Cheers! Now what?

  • What's the purpose of the article? (persuade, inform, prove something?)
  • What's the type of journal it comes from? Double-check to make sure it is scholarly! Refer to the diagram in the Introduction Tab
  • How is the article organized? What's the content like? (organized & focused, clearly presented argument)
  • Is there a bias? 
  • Is the date appropriate? (up-to-date, timless, out of date? This depends on what it is you're looking for)
  • Is there a bibliography? (for scholarly articles there is always a reference list of sufficient quality)
  • Who wrote it? (author should be expert in the field)
  • Who is the article intended for? (scholarly=researches, popular material=general audience)

This information is provided courtesy of the Colorado State University Libraries. Click the link for more in depth guidance OR contact your UWF librarian! 

Evaluating the Web with CRAAP

First things first: Find out what types of sources your instructor will allow you to use for the assignment. Some will only allow references from scholarly journals and books.

On second thought: If you are permitted to use web resources and newspaper and magazine articles in your papers and projects, you will want to evaluate the information to make sure that it is an authoritative and credible source (unless you are illustrating a point about them-- for example, showing depictions of women in the 1920s from a magazine).

Some things to consider in evaluating all types of sources*:
Currency: Is the information current and up-to-date?
Relevance: Does the information have anything to do with your topic?
Authority: Is it authoritative? (How do you know if the source is "legit"?)
Accuracy: Is reliable and true?
Purpose: Why does the information exist?

Did your website pass the CRAAP Test?!

*Criteria adapted from the CRAAP Test, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico


Primary vs Secondary Sources

Secondary sources include news stories (PNJ, NY Times, National Geographic) while primary sources are the actual studies mentioned in those news articles.  Sometimes primary studies (scholarly journal articles) are spun/misinterpreted in news stories resulting in incorrect information in the news (fake news!). Always double check the academic information from the primary source when looking at news stories

Evaluating Information from the Web