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Human Service Work - Salmon Arm

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

With ANY source evaluate the information using the 5 W's:

  • Who wrote it?  What are their credentials, experience, affiliations.
  • When was it written? date
  • What is it?  facts or an opinion, does it have a reference list
  • Why was it written?  To sell something, to inform, to entertain etc
  • Where does if come from?  a peer reviewed journal, facebook, Youtube, website etc

Scholarly vs. Popular

                                                        SCHOLARLY vs. POPULAR RESOURCES

The World Wide Web (WWW) and the OC Library collection make it is easy to obtain information. It is more difficult to identify sources you can rely on.  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 (Modified, original source UBC Library) 

Scholarly Academic Publications

Popular Publications


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 of publication is provided

Popular publications, especially WWW publications, often do not give a date of publication


Colleges/Universities, professional associations, scholarly publishers + research institutes   

Commercial for-profit publishers or members of the public


To report on experiments, theories, case studies + other research   

To sell advertised products, inform, promote a point of view or entertain


Peer review by experts in the field

Review by a generalist (a magazine editor) or no review


Sources used in the author's research are cited in a reference list or footnotes   

Sources are rarely cited or are inaccurate


Accurate spelling + grammar, few advertisements, logical + well written

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

Evaluating The Information You Discover

Click on the image below to learn more about evaluating information sources


Evaluating Information Sources


  • Is the document directly related to your research topic?
  • Is the information at correct level for your assignment?


  • Is the information from a scholarly peer-reviewed source?
  • Who is the author(s)? 
  • Is the author a recognized authority in this field?
  • What are author's credentials?
  • Is this author cited by other researchers in this area?
  • What is the authors affiliation?
  • Is contact information for the author provided?
  • Who is the publisher and are they know for publishing information on the subject?


  • Date of publication?
  • Is information current and up-to-date?


  • Is the the research methodology employed by the author provided?
  • Is it a sound search methodology employed by other research in the field?
  • Does the author include a literature review?
  • Is there a reference list of cited works?


  • Does the author provide a clearly reasoned argument supported by identifiable logic, facts and data?
  • Does the author consider alternate interpretations of the evidence?


  • Does the author appear to have any identifiable bias?
  • Has the author omitted and relevant information or data that other people writing on the subject have included?
  • Is the author affiliated with a group, business or organization that is selling something?
  • Where did the author's research funding come from?

Citations & Reference List

  • Has the author included citations to the information that they have used to create their article?
  • Does the author provide a Reference List for the citations used in the article?

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