Knowing where information is coming from, who wrote it, and why they wrote it, is an important step in doing research. When you find a new source of information, especially on the Internet, ask yourself the following questions.
Relevance or Coverage
Although this list of questions is not exhaustive, do you feel confident that the information presented on the website you are evaluating is of use for you and your research?
Peer review is the process in which a scholar's work is reviewed by experts in a field before being accepted for publication (in the case of journals). Many people give more credence to journal articles that have gone through a peer review process because they have been reviewed by experts in the field (rather than just an editor as is the case of a newspaper or magazine) before being accepted for publication.
For more information on peer reviewed journals, please see the following guide and video tutorials:
You have found sources you want to use in a paper or project, but how do you use them well? How does the source fit into the structure of your paper? Think about how each of your sources could add to your project with the following I-BEAM schema.
Instance: Why is your work important? How does it relate to other research in your field?
Background: Does the source present information or establish facts?
Exhibit: Are you interpreting or analyzing the source? Are you using it as an example?
Argument: Do you agree or disagree with the author’s claims? Are you building on their research?
Method: Does the source introduce a key term or theory? Are you using a particular procedure?