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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training scholarly information handling for geoscience faculty & PhDs: 2I: Evaluating search results

Evaluating sources

On this page we deal with evaluation of search results.

You'll find here:

  1. Summary of criteria and aspects used in evaluation of scholarly sources

Evaluating search results: how scientific are they?

The  reliability  (scientific nature) of sources can be verified by three kinds of checks:

  1. Check by others, before publication
    • editors: editors of scientific journals are stricter than editors of non-scientific journals
    • publisher: some publishers only publish scientific books
    • peer review: some journals but also some book publishers ask experts for a (blind) judgment before publication
    • search engine/online bibliography: some search engines only include articles from high-quality peer reviewed journals (for instance Scopus and Web of Science) 
    • financier: some journals demand that the names are published of those who have funded the research
  2. Check by others, after publication
    • reviews (in the case of books): is the book review positive?
    • citations (particularly in the case of articles:): how many times is the article cited and especially; what is said about the article?
  3.  Your own check:
    • who is the author and when was the article published (especially with web pages)
    • affiliation of the author: the job may tell you more, for instance if the author is employed by a (good) university
    • what is the intended audience of the publication (for websites and reports) 
    • how explicit is the phrasing of the question? Does the article contain conclusions?
    • is the used method explained: how was the research organised, where do the data come from?
    • are there enough references? Are they of high quality?: on which insights is the theory based?
    • language use: level and grammaticality

In the special LibGuide Evaluating sources   you will learn how to deal with these matters