Goal: To find an authoritative, credible source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.
Who is the author or the publisher?
- Is it a professional association, foundation, or institute, or is it an individual?
- What do you know, or can you find out about either one?
- What are their credentials? (i.e. education, training, experience, job title, job function, etc.)
- Do they provide contact information? (i.e. e-mail address, office address, phone number, etc.)
- Is the source trustworthy?
- What is their reputation or standing among their peers?
Don’t assume that because a title or site is produced by a professional group or a foundation with a neutral-sounding name, that it does not have a specific point of view.
Is there evidence of quality control?
- Is the information presented on an organizational website?
- Is the information "signed" and not written by "anonymous?"
- Has the information gone through a peer-review process?
Peer-review is the process authors must go through when trying to get their research published. A refereed journal usually has a review board made up of experts in that field who read and critique an article before it is approved for publication. In some cases, these experts may determine that the article is not worthy of publication, therefore it is rejected. Most publications that are considered refereed will state so inside of their publication (usually on the table of contents page), on their website (look for a link to "about us"), and in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory (see the "title" section of volume 4, which is located behind the Reference Desk, and then look for the arrow symbol next to the title).