Consider the following criteria to evaluate your sources.
- Currency: Is the publication date appropriate for your topic?
- Relevance: Who is the intended audience and does the information help answer your question?
- Authority: Do the author credentials, organizational affiliation, and publisher indicate expertise?
- Accuracy: Is the information reliable and supported by evidence or peer-review?
- Purpose: Does the information exist as fact, opinion, propaganda, or bias?
- More tips on source evaluation:
- Evaluating Sources from the Harvard Guide to Using Sources
What does "peer-reviewed" and "scholarly" articles mean?
- Peer-reviewed articles are approved by other scholars through a specific process: Authors submit their articles to a peer-reviewed journal and then the journal editor sends it to other experts in the field to review the article and provide feedback to the editor. The peer-reviewers and editor may decide the article does not meet standards for publication, or they might ask the authors to make revisions. If the articl eventually meets all standards it will be published in the journal.
Using Sources and Citation Management Tools
- Schedule a tutorial meeting in-person or online with the Harvard Extension Writing Center.
- The Harvard College Writing Center offers a variety of help, including Strategies for Essay Writing and the Harvard Guide to Using Sources.
- Our Citation Tools FAQ provides help with organizing your sources and producing bibliographies. Our Zotero Guide offers detailed help with installing and using Zotero, which is one of the best tools for organizing your research and formatting citations. The guide also lists upcoming Zotero workshops.
- Finding Your Voice: Understanding academic integrity and graduate writing at Harvard, Harvard Library tutorial.
- Tips to Avoid Plagiarism, from the Extension School, provides a variety of helpful resources.
- Interrogating Texts is a helpful library guide offering six reading habits to develop.