Now you're ready to evaluate the information you find on the web and in scholarly articles from Library databases or Google Scholar, for quality. Keep in mind that not all the information you find online is credible and reliable so you must take a close look at what you are using. Use the tips below to determine whether or not you should use a particular source for your research assignment. You want to find the best information possible.
When working with open access journal articles, make sure to evaluate them critically, by asking the following questions:
Does the journal solicit articles, or is there a submission process in place? What is the submission process? What are their acceptance timelines? You should be able to find all of this information on their website.
Take a look at an example of a search for the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning Journal Opens in a new window. Look at the Cited bynumber.
The above checklist is based on content developed by Ryerson University Library and Archives Opens in a new window.
Download the evaluation checklists, and refer to them when you need to.
When evaluating academic journal articles for quality, take a look at the individual sections of the paper.
The Introduction should give you an understanding of what is being researched, how, and why the research is of importance. When you read the introduction section of a journal article, you should have a clear idea of what the article is about, and what the research focus is.
An Introduction will identify the importance of the research to the academic field, and provide you with a clear hypothesis or a research question/statement.Questions to ask:
The Results section is where you find information about the final results of the authors' research. Here, you should be able to read about, the analyzed results of the study, as well as have access to raw statistical data.
Are these results shared with the readers? Are they clearly stated? Is there access to supporting analysis such as graphs, charts, tables that are clear and easy to follow? do you have access to the statistics? Can you figure out the results of the experiment, survey, etc, without a discussion of why they occurred?Questions to ask: