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English 122 - Composition II: Evaluating Information

Library resources for argumentative essays.

Is My Article from a Peer Reviewed Journal?

How Can I Evaluate a Book?

Evaluate Your Sources

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Scholarly Sources

What do we mean by a scholarly source in English 122?

When looking for scholarly sources, focus on primary research, largely "experts writing for other experts":

  • Original research in a peer-reviewed or scholarly journal
  • A student interview with an expert in the field
  • A scholarly book published through a university press
  • An original government study or research
  • A published dissertation

The following would NOT be considered scholarly sources:

  • A letter to the editor or news brief in a peer-reviewed or scholarly journal
  • An expert quoted in a general news source
  • A government fact sheet, web page summary
  • Document such as the US Constitution or laws

CRAAP Test - Evaluation Criteria

Evaluate your information using the CRAAP test. Based on what you discover, go back and brainstorm and re-search some more.

C urrency
How new (or old) is the information? 
Is the information out of date for your topic?
R elevance
Does the information address your topic, thesis and supporting arguments? 
Is it at an appropriate level (i.e not too elementary or too advanced?)
A uthority
Who wrote the information? Individual or institution? Are they credible?
Are the author's credentials or qualifications given?
Is there author's contact information?
A ccuracy
Is the information consistent with other sources? 
Does the information seem biased?
Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?
P urpose
Why was the information created? To persuade? To educate? To sell something?
Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions clear?
Are there political, cultural, institutional or personal biases and opinions?