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How to Evaluate Research Sources

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How Soon Can I Expect to Find...?

Information production has a cycle.  The longer the vetting or production process, the longer it will take to become available.  However, just because it takes longer doesn't necessarily mean it is less credible.  If you are searching for a book or academic, peer-reviewed article on a recent event, you may have difficulty finding it.

Information Cycle


Locating Sources for a Recent Event

Are you searching for sources to use for your paper, but the event or topic is very recent and you're not finding much? These strategies might help you locate information:

  • Choose events that have been going on for at least several months or longer, events from the past, or events that can be placed in a historical perspective.
  • Find scholarly articles about a similar event that occurred in the past.  Then compare the two (the past and present/recent events) as much as possible.
    For example: another earthquake, hurricane, political unrest, nuclear disaster, etc.
  • Find scholarly sources about themes related to your topic
    For example: environmental impact, social and economic impact of political unrest, political impact of a disaster, etc. 

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