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Film: Evaluate Sources

This guide will provide information and library resources for the study of film.

Evaluate Information

Evaluating information is an important part of the research cycle. It is not uncommon to get a large number of search results. As you look at your results, consider the guidelines for your assignment. Use the filters to ensure you're finding appropriate resources. See the Find Sources page for more help with filtering.

As you refine the search results, you will generally review more articles or media sources than you will eventually use. How do you choose the best information from the sources for your research? What are the criteria to evaluate a selected source via the Web or journal publications?

In scanning the contents on the results, the title, publication source, year, and abstract or description often provide key information to help you decide if the material would be helpful in addressing your research question.

The major elements that are applied to any types of source evaluation include currency, authority, credibility, purpose, objectivity, writing style, and relevance.

Research Skills & Tips:

There are different types of journal articles for various audience and purposes:

  • Scholarly articles (also called peer-reviewed articles) are high-level research on a narrow topic written by experts in the discipline. 
  • Newspaper and magazine articles are reporting on a specific event or topic. 

Scholarly articles are often long and technical, and keep in mind that not all journal articles are appropriate for academic assignments. Read the following research strategies and tips to distinguish between scholarly journals and popular magazines and on how to choose which articles to use for your project.

Research Skills & Tips:

Nowadays anyone can put information on the Web and make it available online. The Web contains everything from useful information to misleading information, advertisements, news, entertainment, advocacy, and even to propaganda and fake information. 

How can you tell whether that information is credible and authoritative?

Qualities of Good Scholarship: clear, well-written, calm and objective tone, balanced and reasoned presentation, accurate presentation of facts, all sources are documented. 

Qualities of Poor Scholarship: poor grammar or misspellings, sweeping generalizations, uses emotional appeals, excessive claims of certainty, biased information, no author affiliation or contact information, no documentation of sources.

Research Skills & Tips:

Step 3: Evaluate Sources

"Evaluate Sources." Stack of folders.

To ensure the quality of your research, think critically about whether the sources you selected are credible, reliable and relevant for your research goal. 

Consider the evaluation tips on this page, and assess each article, book, website or other source that you find.

When you're ready, move to the next step in the research cycle, Cite Sources.