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ERAU Hunt Library

HU 145 Mitchell Spring 2020

Pikto

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Evaluating Criteria

Evaluate Your Search Results

  • Read the abstract to learn overview of the article.
  • Look at the keywords.  Do they match your search?
    • Even if they don't match, is the article still relevant?
    • If the article is relevant, add new keywords to search.
  • Can you understand the vocabulary?
  • When was it published?  Do you need a recent article?
  • Does the article contain references?
  • Is it original research?
    • Does it use primary or secondary sources?
    • Does it include charts, graphs, or other data?
  • How does this article relate to your topic?
    • How is it similar?
      • Does it focus on the same questions you have?
    • How is it different?
      • Does it present a different argument than what you want?
      • How could that be used in your project?
    • Is this article useful to your project?
      • Does it relate to what you are talking about?
      • Can it fit into your project?
    • If it is not useful to your topic, why isn't it useful?

Determining Authenticity by Author

Look for the author or sponsoring entity (person, group or organization). Is the author or sponsoring entity clearly identified? Are credentials listed which validate the author’s expertise?

Look for the top-level domain (the last part of the URL) for a hint about who is publishing the website. The domain creates distinctions between types of websites. They do not, however, assure reliability and credibility.

Examples of Internet top-level domains:

  • www.dhs.gov = government, U.S. Federal Government agency
  • www.erau.edu = educational, such as colleges and universities
  • www.boeing.com = commercial company, usually for-profit
  • www.sae.org = organizations, often non-profit 
  • www.army.mil = military
  • ~  =(tilde) a personal site

For More Information

Evaluating Criteria

Purpose: What is the purpose of the publication? Is it to inform or persuade? Is it biased? Does it provide more than one point of view? Does a bias diminish the usability or credibility?

Author: Are the author’s credentials, such as educational background, occupation, affiliation or position listed? Many resources do not have one author as they are published by a group of authors, an organization or even a government body. If so, are they or the entity they represent specialists in the subject area?

Audience: Who is the targeted audience? Is it the general public, academic community, scientific community or is it specialists in a particular field?

Language: Is the language scholarly or general? Is it geared toward the layperson or someone with knowledge in the field? Does it include terminology or acronyms specific to an industry?

Documentation: Does the work include bibliographies or references, charts, graphs or other evidence that supports the research presented?

Currency: Is it important that your sources include the latest findings or does your topic permit or require historical research?