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ARTH 494: Evaluating Sources

Questions for Evaluation

Here are some questions to help you evaluate the information you find.

Currency:

  • When was the information published?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?

Authority:

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?

Accuracy:

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?

Relevance:

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?

 

Adapted from http://research.pugetsound.edu/content.php?pid=656957&sid=5441626

 

Using Book Reviews

By consulting book reviews of the scholarly works you are reading, you can gain a better understanding of the place of a particular work within the field. Here are some search tips for finding book reviews in selected databases.

JSTOR

  • Select the "Advanced Search" option
  • Type (in quotation marks) the title of the book for which you seek reviews.
  • Under the limiter options, select "review" in the "Type" category.

Primo

  • Search the title of the book in quotation marks.
  • Limit to articles.
  • Refine search to book reviews if this option is available.

Art Full Text

  • Search the book title.
  • Choose book review as document type in the drop down menu.

Evaluating Database Results

Databases typically provide information that can help you evaluate if a source is relevant, current, and scholarly for your topic.

Look for:

  • Article Title
  • Abstract
  • Date
  • Title of publication (how scholarly?)
  • Length

Using Notes & Bibliographies

If you find a relevant source on your topic, look at the references to quickly locate additional reliable sources.

Example from Lavin, Irving. "Divine Grace and the Remedy of the Imperfect. Michelangelo's Signature on the St Peter's Pietà." Artibus Et Historiae 34, no. 68 (December 2013): 277-328.

 

Google Scholar Cited Reference Search

Google Scholar can help you find articles which have cited an article that you have found. Frequent citation is often (but not always!) a marker for a particularly influential scholarly work.

Step 1: When looking at search results, check for the 'Cited by X' link underneath each result. That will tell you how many subsequent articles (that Google Scholar is aware of) have cited this particular article or book.

Step 2: Click that link, and you will be taken to a new set of results, all of which have cited the original article, which will still be listed at the top of the page. 

Google Scholar Search

Evaluating Book Entries in Primo

Look at the item details to help you evaluate the source:

Book Example from Primo: