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Evaluating Information

Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals (3:12 youtube video)
Contrasts articles from scholarly, popular, and trade publications.

Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory
Search for your journal title to see if it is scholarly/academic and refereed (peer-reviewed).

Evaluating Scholarly Content Online UC Berkeley Tutorial
Includes a section on Google Scholar

CRAAP Test  is it good information?  a list of questions from CSU Chico


How to Read a Scientific Paper Tutorial from Purdue University Libraries

Typical Format of a Primary Research Article

  • Abstract: summary of what the study is about, how the research was conducted, what the findings are.
  • Intro and Lit Review: background of problem, reasons for/objectives of the study, prior research & literature on the topic.
  • Methods & Results: how the study was conducted, what was found (samples, measurement, procedures)
  • Discussion & Conclusion: Interpretation of the results, summary of important findings & their meaning to the field; sometimes what the limitations of the study are and need for future research.
  • References

Reading a Journal Article

Author and Institutional Affiliation
    Literature Review

    Findings or Results


Look at the article itself and evaluate it.

♦ Even if you have determined that the journal in which an article was published is scholarly, these journals usually also contain other types of articles besides primary research articles, such as review articles, editorials, commentary, research briefs and news.
Scholarly articles include primary research articles, which are reports and discussions of the results of original research, and are written by scientists in the field of study.

Scholarly articles are written for others in the same and related academic or professional fields, and use terminology specific to the field.

They document (cite) their sources, and this list of cited references may point to other sources of information relevant to your topic.

Also important:

Date: research in many subjects requires the most current information available. Is the article sufficiently up-to-date for your purpose?

Relevance: how does this information relate to your topic or answer your question?