BIOL 1510 Biology II: Evaluating Sources

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Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

Practice: 
Are the articles below considered scholarly?  Why or why not? 

Article 1

Determining If A Journal is Peer-Reviewed

You can use the Ulrichsweb database whenever you want to check if an article that you found is considered peer-reviewed.  This database is considered the definitive source for information about whether a journal is peer-reviewed or not.

Watch the video below to learn how to use Ulrichsweb. Remember, when you search in Ulrichsweb, you should search for the title of the journal not the title of the article!

Practice:

Is the article (above) from Conservation Biology considered peer-reviewed? If so, how do you know?

Applying the ABCD's of Evaluating Sources

 

Article 2

The ABCD's Spelled Out

Author     Bias     Content     Date

Author

  • After you find a source of information that you might want to use, think about the author(s) of the source.  Are the authors experts and qualified to write on the topic?  What are their credentials?  Are they affiliated with any organizations or a university?
  • Also, consider the publisher or source.  Where was the information published?  Was it published in a peer-reviewed journal?  Do a little investigating on the author and source to make sure the information provided can be considered reputable. 

Bias

  • Look for any bias in the information.  Does the information presented cover all sides of the topic in a neutral, objective manner?  What is the purpose of this information… to inform, teach, persuade, or sell? 

Content

  • Critically evaluate the actual content of the document.  Is the information provided as a superficial overview or a detailed analysis?  Is the information relevant to your topic or does it deviate too much?  Is the readership level too simple or too sophisticated?
  • Also, focus on the accuracy of the content.  Does the information match your understanding of the topic and can you verify the claims in other sources?  Compare its findings to those of other related articles.  Do not rely on only one source. 

Date

  • Consider when was the information was published, updated, or revised.  Has the information become outdated?  Also, look at the date of the reference list provided.  Are those sources too old?