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John M. Flaxman Library SAIC School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Evaluating Resources Guide

Types of Information

A - author 

  • Who wrote the resource? Who are they? Background information matters.

C - currency

  • When was this resource written? When was it published? Does this resource fit into the currency of your topic?

T - truth

  • How accurate is this information? Can you verify any of the claims in other sources? Are there typos and spelling mistakes?

U - unbiased

  • Is the information presented to sway the audience to a particular point of view? Resources unless otherwise stated should be impartial.

P - privilege

  • Check the privilege of the author(s). Are they the only folks who might write or publish on this topic? Who is missing in this conversation? Critically evaluate the subject terms associated with each resource you found. How are they described? What are the inherent biases?

 

*Created by Dawn Stahura, Research and Instruction Librarian, Zine Librarian at Simmons College 

                                                   Scholarly Journals                                                                              Books

  Scholarly Articles Peer-Reviewed Articles Scholarly Press Academic Press
Examples

Afterall 

Art Journal

History as Art, Art as History: Contemporary Art and Social Studies Education 

(Press: Routledge)

The Art of History: African American Women Artists Engage the Past 

(Press: Rutgers University Press)

Content

Primary account of original research; In-depth analysis of issues in the field; Articles often include abstract, method, discussion, tables, conclusion, and references;

*not all scholarly articles are necessarily peer-reviewed

Primary account of original research; In-depth analysis of issues in the field; Articles often include abstract, method, discussion, tables, conclusion, and references;

Peer-review refers to the rigorous process that articles undergo before they may be published.  Other scholars in the author's field or discipline review and evaluate the article for quality and validity.  If lacking, the article may be rejected, but otherwise, the article is accepted, often with suggestions for revision.

 *all peer-reviewed articles are considered scholarly 

Often reports original research, reviews and evaluates material that has already been published, or expands and refines theory

Often reports original research, reviews and evaluates material that has already been published, or expands and refines theory

Language Academic, technical jargon that uses the language of the discipline; Requires some relevant expertise Academic, technical jargon that uses the language of the discipline; Requires some relevant expertise Academic, technical jargon that uses the language of the discipline; Requires some relevant expertise Academic, technical jargon that uses the language of the discipline; Requires some relevant expertise
Authors

Researchers, scholars, professors, etc.

Includes author's credentials and institutional affiliation

Researchers, scholars, professors, etc.

Includes author's credentials and institutional affiliation

Researchers, scholars, professors, etc.

Includes author's credentials and institutional affiliation

Researchers, scholars, professors, etc.

Includes author's credentials and institutional affiliation

References References, footnotes or bibliographies are always included References, footnotes or bibliographies are always included References, footnotes or bibliographies are always included References, footnotes or bibliographies are always included
Editors Journal's editorial board Journal's editorial board in addition to external scholars in the same field Book/Anthology Editors: Researchers, scholars, professors, etc. Book/Anthology Editors: Researchers, scholars, professors, etc.
Publishers Universities, scholarly presses, or academic organizations Universities, scholarly presses, or academic  Scholarly presses, or academic organizations Universities
Example Databases Academic Search Complete, Art Design & Architecture Collection, JSTOR Academic Search CompleteJSTOR

SAIC Flaxman Library Catalog, I-Share Catalog

SAIC Flaxman Library CatalogI-Share Catalog

 

Trade Journals                                                                              

Example

Communication Arts

Image result for communication arts

Content

Current news, trends, or products in an industry or professional organization; Statistics, forecasts, employment and career information

Language Specialized jargon or terminology of the field; Written for practitioners/professionals
Authors

Practitioners in the field, industry professionals, or journalists with subject expertise

References References in text or short bibliographies are occasionally included
Editors Work for the publisher
Publishers Commercial publishers or trade and professional organizations
Example Databases

Art Full Text, Academic Search Complete, Business Source Elite, Design & Applied Arts Index, Film & Television Literature Index, Sourcing Journal

 

                                                   Substantive News                                                                              

Example

Chicago Tribune

Image result for chicago tribune

Content

Current events and news that may be local, regional, national or international; Ads, editorials, speeches; Primary source for information on events

Language Written for a general audience; Understandable language
Authors

Journalists or staff writers

References Rarely cites sources in full
Editors Work for the publisher
Publishers Commercial publishers
Example Databases

Alternative Press Index, Chicago Tribune (1984-present), Nexis Uni (aka LexisNexis)

Uses

Locate up to date information about a current event, find local information, read editorials, commentaries, or expert/popular opinions

 

                                                   Popular Sources                                                                              

Example

Time Magazine

Image result for time magazine cover

Content

Current events and news; General information with purpose to entertain or inform; Analyzes of popular culture; Secondary account of someone else's research that may include opinion

Language Easily understandable, non-technical language; Written for the layperson
Authors

Journalists or staff writers

References References are rarely included.
Editors Work for the publisher
Publishers Commercial publishers
Example Databases

Academic Search Complete

Uses

Learn about a topic broadly, general knowledge, pop culture, current events

 

                                                   Wikipedia                                                                             

Example

Fauvism Article                                                                                        Teaching Wikipedia Comic 

 

Content

Quality ranges from poor to very good,

Language Written for a general audience; Understandable language
Authors

Anonymous, crowd sourced, anyone can add content

References
Editors Some editorial control from Wikimedia Foundation and self-appointed editors within the Wikipedia community; however it is not the same type of editorial control as publishing houses
Publishers
 

 

Uses

Professors do not usually accept wikipedia articles as a source for college level papers and projects, but they can be very useful in finding other, reliable sources that can be cited.

Background information: general overviews for a rudimentary understanding; pop-culture topics tend to be more thoroughly presented.

Links:

Keywords:

References:

 

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