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Evaluating Journal Articles
Evaluating a Journal Article
Purpose of the Article:
Why was the article written?
Type of Journal
- To persuade
- To inform
- To prove something
Organization & Content
- Scholarly Journal: high quality research reviewed by experts in the field. (Peer-review)
- Trade Magazine: topics in business or economic data
- Is material organized and focused?
- Is argument or presentation understandable?
- Is this original research, a review of previous research
Date of Article
- Left/Liberal? OR Right/Conservative? Center?
- An alternative press? OR Political action (PAC) group?
- Up‐to‐date, Out‐of‐date, Timeless
- Identifies resources consulted appropriate for the content.
- Is it selective or is it comprehensive
- Primary sources and/or secondary sources only
- Is the citation style clear and consistent?
- Is the article relevant to the current research project?
- Support an argument ‐Refute an argument
- Includes survey results, primary research finding, case studies
- Author(s) and/or publisher(s) credentials verifiable.
- Expert in this field? Where employed? Other writings?
- Comprehensively, partially, or provide an overview?
- Specialists. Researchers or scholars Students
- Charts, graphs, maps, photographs used to illustrate concepts
- Relevant, clear and professional‐looking?
Evaluating a Website
- Is the information reliable?
- Is the author an expert in the field? Check credentials/affiliation.
- Is the source reputable?
- Are the sources of information stated and verifiable?
- Can the author be contacted for clarification?
- Check for organizational or author biases.
Format and Presentation
- Is material unique, accurate or is it derivative, repetitious, or doubtful?
- Is the information available in other formats?
- Is the purpose of the resource clearly stated?
- What subjects, time period, formats or types are covered?
- Is the information factual or opinion?
- Does the site contain original information or simply links?
- How frequently is the resource updated?
- Does the site have clear and obvious pointers to new content?
- How many links does it take to get to something useful?
- Do images enhance the resource or distract from the content?
- Is the target audience or intended users clearly indicated?
- Is the arrangement of links uncluttered?
- Does the site have its own search engine?
- Is the site easily browsable or searchable?
- Is response time fast?
- Does the site have a text-based alternative?
- How many links lead to a dead-end?
- Is this a fee-based site? Can non-members still have access to part of the site?
- Must you register a name and password before using the site?
Evaluating a Research Report
- Clear and concise
- States what the study promises
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
- clearly stated
- properly defined
- significance recognized
- hypotheses clearly stated/specific questions raised
- assumptions and limitations stated
- important terms defined
- adequately covered
- important findings noted
- well organized
- effectively summarized
- detailed research design
- adequate research design
- relevant variables recognized
- appropriate controls provided
- data gathering instruments apropropiate
- validity and reliability established
- statistical treatment appropriate
Selection of Literature
Criticism of the Literature
- Are parameters of the review reasonable?
- Why Is certain literature included and others excluded?
- Which years are included?
- Are primary sources emphasized over secondary sources?
- Is the literature is relevant to the problem?
- How is the review organized?
- By topics or ideas
- By author
- Is the review organized logically?
- Are major studies or theories discussed in detail?
- Are minor studies discussed as a group?
- Is there criticism of the design and methodology of the studies?
- Are studies compared and contrasted and conflicting results noted?
- Does the summary provide an overall interpretation of the problem?
- Does the summary conclude that the research is necessary?
- Do the implications provide theoretical or empirical justification for the research questions or hypothesis that follows?
- Does the methodology provide a rationale for the design to follow?