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FIQWS Individual & Society

Critical Evaluation of Resources

Not all resources will be suitable or appropriate for your research. To help you determine whether or not to include a resource consider the following:

  • Scope. What is the breadth of the book, article, or other material? Is it a general overview or more specific and focused?
  • Audience. Who is the intended audience for this source? It is too technical? Too elementary?
  • Timeliness. When was this source published or updated (in the case of a Web site)?
  • Scholarly vs. Popular. Scholarly resources are written by experts for experts. These sources are peer reviewed*, have extensive bibliographies, and often contain areas for further research.
  • Authority. What are the academic credentials of the author? What has he/she written?

*Peer review is a process whereby a group of experts in the field review an article for content, scholarly soundness, and academic value before it is accepted for publication. Note that this process is different than in-class peer review, in which students read and critique each other's papers.

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