Below are some important things to consider when you are choosing which books, articles, and websites to use in your assignments.
Reliability: Is the information accurate and dependable? Do the facts match up?
Credibility: Is the author an expert? What are their credentials?
Validity: Where is the information coming from? It is personal opinion or research-based? Is there a bibliography or works cited section you can refer to?
Timeliness: When was it published?
Audience: Who was the article written for? Children? Scholars? Sometimes you can tell by the language - complexity and jargon suggest that it is written for a knowledgeable audience.
Bias: Does it discuss multiple sides of an issue or just one? Why was it written - for sales? to sway opinion?
Relevance: Does it address your research topic? How well? Read the abstract or introduction and conclusion to figure this out.
Considering all of these elements can help determine if your source is a good one to use for your topic. You often don't need to read the whole item to evaluate a source. Read the abstract or introduction and conclusion to make a decision about if the resource is going to work for you. If it is, then read the whole thing.
When using databases to find articles, sometimes the article will be available as a PDF Full Text or HTML Full Text. In these cases you can click on those links and access the article immediately.
If PDF or HTML is not available you can use the FindText button:
FindText will search the library catalog to see if the article is available elsewhere through the library, either online or in print. If you are not able to find the item through the FindText button, you can request articles through ILLiad.