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History: Evaluating Sources

Questions to Consider


Be Aware

Different fields of study might have different criteria for what is acceptable to use as a source. Not sure if your professor thinks a source will be valid? Ask them! Not sure how to evaluate a source? Ask us!

Learn more about evaluating different types of sources (including news).

What is Peer Review?

Quick Tips

We are deeply indebted to Indiana University East's Fake News Guide for these tips.

Learn About Scholarly Articles

Scholarly articles are usually structured with specific components such as a literature review, methods section, and references. To learn more and see examples of how this looks, click the link below.

Types of Articles

When researching, you will encounter many different types of articles. Here are a few examples to be aware of.

  • Empirical Study: Article that is structured around original research findings. The purpose is to relay what the researcher has found.
  • Literature Review: Article that employs and/or analyzes previously published scholarship. Original concepts should be explored, but authors pull from other's research.
  • Professional Trade Journal: Publication intended for professionals in a specific field, trade, or industry. Not considered scholarly.

Librarian Tip: Peer Review is a process by which articles are reviewed by other scholars or experts in the field before being accepted for publication. Look out for "Peer Reviewed" filters in databases and the catalog to narrow your results to these types of articles.

Evaluating Websites of Organizations

Use these tips to evaluate the websites of organizations. Keep in mind that these are only a starting point and not guaranteed to be failsafe in every situation.