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Primary sources are preferred over sources that another person had cited (secondary sources).If you do come across a useful secondary source, try to find the primary source it is referring to, so that you can read it first-hand.Inquiring about the Title of Journal Is this a scholarly or a popular journal?
Inquiring about the Edition or Revision Is this a first edition of this publication or not?
Further editions usually indicate a source has been revised and updated to reflect changes in knowledge, to include prior omissions, and to better harmonize the contents with the intended needs of its readers.
Inquiring about the Author What are the author's credentials, such as, institutional affiliation [where he or she works], educational background, past writings, or experience?
Is the book or article written on a topic in the author's area of expertise? Have you seen the author's name cited in other sources or bibliographies?
Is this source too elementary, too technical, too advanced, or just right for your needs?
Guidelines In Evaluating A Research Paper
Objectivity Is the information covered considered to be fact, opinion, or propaganda? Teaching and Learning Services, University of Maryland Libraries; Ostenson, Jonathan. Do reviewers agree on the value or attributes of the book or are there strong differences of opinion? Does the reviewer mention other books that might be better? You may also need to justify why you have included some works and not others.For example, some studies may be superseded by recent evidence or theories and are now out of date.If you are using a web source, do the pages indicate last revision dates? If the source is published by a university press, it is likely to be scholarly.Although the fact that a publisher is reputable does not necessarily guarantee quality, it does show that the publisher has a high regard for the source being published [their reputation as an academic publisher relies on it].Intended Audience What type of audience is the author addressing?Is the publication aimed at a specialized or a general audience? Inquiring about the Date of Publication When was the source published?Is the source current or out-of-date for your topic?