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Evaluating Resources

How do you know if a source is scholarly or not? The following guidelines and questions can help:

  • University presses and other academic presses (Ashgate, Routledge, Norton, Scarecrow, Garland, and Greenwood) tend to be reliable.
  • What are the author’s credentials?
  • Does the publication have scholarly apparatus, such as footnotes, bibliography, and appendices?
  • Are there advertisements?  If so, what is the target audience?
  • Heavily illustrated books tend not to be scholarly.
  • How current is the information? Older materials may still be useful, but always look for the most recent scholarship.
  • For websites:
    • Can you find the author’s credentials?
    • Is the website associated with a university, a scholarly institution, or a reputable publisher?
    • Is the material documented?