Skip to Main Content
Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training Master Youth Studies: Step 5: Quality check

Activity: Quality check

Do a quality-check on the selected articles.  Explain shortly on the form what you have done to check the quality of your sources.

Use the instructions in the adjacent boxes.

Impact Factor and Journal Citation Reports (video)

Journal metrics are used to evaluate impact and quality of journals. There are several journal metrics, the journal impact factor (JIF)  is one of them.

The video provides information about the way the impact factor is calculated and how to find impact factors in the Journal Citation Reports. An Impact Factor is a figure that does not say much in itself. You must always view journals and their impact factors in the context of comparable journals (rank).

More about traditional and altmetrics

How to determine the scholarly nature of sources?

The crux of science lies in the extent to which an author/researcher performs his work objectively and makes it verifiable. In determining the quality and scientific nature of sources you may start from three kinds of checks:

  1. Check by others, preceding publication
    • editors: editors of scientific journals are stricter than editors of non-scientific journals
    • publishers: some publishers only publish scientific books
    • peer review: some journals but also some book publishers ask experts for a (blind) judgement 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
    • financiers: some journals demand to know who funded the research
  2. Check by others, after publication
    • reviews (in the case of books): are the reviews positive?
    • citations (mainly in the case of articles): is the piece cited often (taking into account how long it has been available) and more importantly:what is being said?
  3. Check by yourself
    • are author and date of the text mentioned (particularly in the case of webpages)?
    • affiliation of the author: the author's job may tell you more about the scientific level, for instance if the author is employed by a good university
    • is the target group mentioned: (in particular in the case of websites and reports)
    • presence of explicit research questions and conclusions
    • presence of an explanation of the method used: how was the research conducted, where are the data coming from?
    • presence of enough and high-quality literature references or notes: what insights are used?
    • language level and well organised text

You can find more information in the Libguide Evaluating Sources

Checklist for sources: the CRAPMAP

The CRAPMAP consists of a list of questions that help you to assess whether the (online) information you have found is reliable and useful. Depending on your situation, items from the list are more or less important. NB! Always stay alert! This checklist is just a tool and not always sufficient.

The timeliness of the information

 When was the information published or posted?
 Has the information been revised or updated? Or perhaps even retracted?
 Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?

The importance of the information for your needs

 Does the information relate to your topic or answer your questions?
 Who is the intended audience?
 Is the information at an appropriate level (not too simple or too advanced)
 Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
 Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content

 Where does the information come from?
 Is the information supported by evidence?
 Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
 Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
 Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
 Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors? [Second task or achievement]

The source of the information

 Who is the author/publisher/source/journal/sponsor?
 What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
 Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
 Is the publisher/journal scientific? Are they reputable?
 Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?

The impact a source has on the scientific field

 Are you able to find metrics for the source?
 Is the source cited by current research?

The impact a source has in general

 Are you able to find altmetrics for the source?
 Is your research impacted by how well the source is received?
 What does the public reception of a source indicate?

 * For information about metrics and altmetrics see the LibGuide Research Impact & visibility: traditional and altmetrics

The reason the information exists.

 What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
 Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
 Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
 Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
 Is there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, financial or personal bias?

This checklist is based on the CRA(A)P test, originally developed by the library of the California State University, Chico

More about JCR and the impact factor

Using the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is one way of  assessing and comparing the impact of journals.

In the JCR you can find a few so-called journal metrics, assigned to journals included in the Web of Science. You could see these metrics as an indication of the importance that scientists attribute to articles from those journals. The most known journal metric is the Impact Factor.

The impact factor is the relation between the number of articles that a journal publishes (in one year) and the number of times that articles from the journal (published in the two previous years) are cited by others.

There are two editions of JCR: the Science Edition and the Social Sciences Edition, the latter  of course is important for the social sciences. If you wish to use only the SSCI, choose 'Categories by Rank' and make your choice.

Just as Web of Science  and SSCI the Journal Citation Reports are part of the Web of Knowledge.

The publisher of of the JCR offers multiple tutorials in English about the Journal Citation Reports

Metrics in Scopus

Also in Scopus you can find information about the journals that are included in Scopus and citations to and from articles in these journals. Elsevier (the publisher that owns Scopus) keeps track of all citations since 1996, so CiteScore, SJR and SNIP are calculated from that year on.

  1. Click on Sources in the top bar
  2. Search by subject area, title, publisher or ISSN, click 'Apply'
  3. You can refine your search  in the left column menu (e.g.only open-access journals, journals from the first quartile, conference proceedings,  etc.), click 'Apply'
  4. Click on the journal title to see the journal details

You will find information per journal on:

  • CiteScore: CiteScore measures average citations received per document published in the serial.
  • SJR= SCImago Journal Rank measures weighted citations received by the serial. Citation weighting depends on subject field and prestige (SJR) of the citing serial. The SJR covers a period of four years.
  • SNIP= Source Normalized Impact per Paper measures actual citations received relative to citations expected for the serial’s subject field.. The SNIP covers a period of four years.
  • CiteScore Rank & Trend gives information on how the journal is ranked within its subject area.
  • Scopus content coverage: gives the amount of documents published and a citation overview per year
  • You can also compare multiple journals: follow the steps above and click on  'compare sources' (right top corner of the screen). Add up to 10 sources to compare.

Visit for more information the Scopus tutorial about analysing journals.