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Evaluating Resources

How to Evaluate Books
How to Evaluate Journal Articles

Popular Magazines vs. Trade Magazines vs. Scholarly Journals

How to Evaluate a Web Page

URL: http://lib.colostate.edu/howto/eval.html • Modified: 2010-11-29
Lederer

• Content: Naomi

http://lib.colostate.edu/howto/evalbk.html

How To Evaluate Books
To evaluate a book look for:
 Purpose: Why was the book written? To:
o inform?
For example: sequence of historical events, results of lengthy study or
experiment
o

persuade?
For example: to change point of view, outlook, beliefs, or behavior

o

entertain?
For example: most fiction, humor, gossip

o

teach how to do something?
For example: resumes, cover letters, business plans, needlework,
woodwork

o

give an overview?
For example: textbooks, encyclopedias

Publisher: Who published the book

is it: o up-to-date. local)? o Vanity (self-published)? University theses and dissertations are considered published by the university that granted the degree to the student who wrote it. o if the references are primary sources (ex. require current information. value older material as well as current. o out-of-date. Institution. o if the references are contemporary to the book or much older. journal articles) or only secondary sources (ex. "is this book useful to me"? If it is useful.   Organization and Content: Examine the table of contents and/or headings to determine if the book is organized in a logical and understandable manner. etc. such as geology. The references in this list should be in sufficient quantity and be appropriate for the content. Ask. o if the bibliography is selective or comprehensive. Look for:  o if a bibliography exists. does it: . o if the bibliography is short or long. Usefulness: Is the book relevant to the current research project? A well-researched. Know the time needs of your topic and examine the timeliness of the book. Do the contents indicate that the book contains the information you need? Is there added material such as appendices? Date of Publication: Some topics. state. book is not going to be helpful if it does not address the topic at hand. such as those in the health sciences. or o timeless?  Authority/author: Is the author an expert in this field? Where is the author employed? What else has he/she written? Has he/she won awards or honors?  Bibliography: Scholarly works always contain a bibliography of the resources that were consulted. encyclopedias). or Research Center? o Government (US.o A university press? o Commercial publisher? o Professional or Trade Association. and o if the citation style is clear and consistent. Other subjects. wellwritten.

Influence views. Association: Professional. Personal enjoyment. graphs. Trade.o support an argument o refute an argument o give examples (survey results. Personal (Individual). primary research findings. o students (high school. o Sponsor/Owner: On what type of Internet provider or organization does the page reside? (Provenance. o specialists or professionals. Entertain. Business/Company.edu/howto/evalweb. case studies. Educational.) Government agency. beliefs. Advertise/Sell a product or service (business/marketing). Share information. o Date of Production/Revision: When was the Web page produced? When was it last revised? How up-to-date are the links? Are the links still viable? . partially or is it an overview?  Audience: For what type of reader is the author writing? Is the level of the book appropriate for your needs? Is the book for:  o general readers. photographs. Provide up-to-the-moment news.html How to Evaluate a Web Page [Detailed version of How to Evaluate a Web Page] To evaluate a Web page look for: o Purpose: Why was the page created? To: Inform. o Organization and Content: Is the page organized and focused? Is it well designed? Is the text well written? Are the links relevant and appropriate? Are the links evaluated? o Bias--political or issue stance (of the author or sponsor). graduate). used to illustrate concepts? Are the illustrations relevant? Are they clear and professional-looking? http://lib. News bureau.colostate. maps. incidents) o provide "wrong" information that can be challenged or disagreed with productively  Coverage: Does the book cover the topic comprehensively. Entertainment. college. o researchers or scholars? Illustrations: Are charts. elections (advocacy). etc.

etc. journal article. partially or is it an overview? o Illustrations: Are the graphics clear in intent.? o Audience: To what type of reader is the Web page directed? o Coverage: Does the page cover the topic comprehensively. government source.o Usefulness: Is the Web page relevant to the current research project? o Authority/author Who is responsible for the page? Is the author an expert in this field? What else has he/she written or produced? Does the author provide an e-mail address? How accurate is the provided information? Is a bias evident? o What is it? Web-only page. blog. relevant and professional looking? Do the graphics add to or enhance the content? o Security Are security and/or encryption systems employed when necessary? .