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How to Evaluate Research Sources

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Magazines vs. Journals

There are typically three categories for "periodicals" or "magazines":

  • Popular Magazines
  • Trade or Professional Publications
  • Scholarly or Academic Publications

Popular magazines usually only have internal editorial control over what is published. Quality control for this type of publisher is usually based on how well the publication sells. On the other hand, quality control for the publishing of an academic journal is based on it's acceptance by experts or specialists.

Are Library Books Credible?

Books in the Newton Gresham Library have been selected by trained professionals in the given subject area.  However, we select to represent multiple points of view and purchase titles based on fiction and opinion as well as scholarly researched content. It does not guarantee, however, that the viewpoints expressed in the book are universally accepted. A quality collection includes multiple viewpoints, representing a balanced perspective on a given topic. 

Evaluate books as you would any resource when conducting your research.

News Outlets & the Truth

Always approach information with the habit of evaluation - even if it is from a seemingly 'credible' source.

"A staff reporter for The New York Times committed frequent acts of journalistic fraud while covering significant news events..." (more)

"Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States..." (more)

Fact Check Your News

Common Tips & Tricks

There are a multitude of acronyms and tricks to evaluating sources. Use the method preferred by your instructor, knowing that the important component is to develop a habit or pattern you can use when evaluating all information.


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