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Human Service Work: Evaluating sources

This guide will help Human Service Work (HSW) students find research information in the OC Library collection and on the Internet.

Evaluating Information Sources

The World Wide Web (WWW) and the OC Library collection make it is easy to obtain information. It is more difficult to identify reliable sources.  Evaluate your information sources carefully to be sure you've selected material that is both trustworthy and appropriate for your assignnment.

Use this checklist to help you evaluate your sources:

                   .  Scholarly Academic Publications         Popular Publications
Author Written by an expert in the field of study (an academic or trained specialist) Written by those without expertise in the field (a member of the public or journalist) or no author is stated 
Date Date of publication is provided Popular publications, especially WWW publications, often do not give a date of publication
Publisher Colleges/Universities, professional associations, scholarly publishers + research institutes    Commercial for-profit publishers or members of the public
Purpose    To report on experiments, theories, case studies + other research    To sell advertised products, inform, promote a point of view or entertain
Editing Peer review by experts in the field Review by a generalist (a magazine editor) or no review
Documentation                          Sources used in the author's research are cited in a reference list or footnotes    Sources are rarely cited or are inaccurate
Other Accurate spelling + grammar, few advertisements, logical + well written

Spelling + grammar errors may occur, many advertisements, poor or variable writing quality 

   

(Modified, original source UBC Library) 

For more information:

Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals Video

Video from Vanderbilt University explaining the differences between journals and magazines

Information Sources

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