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Psychology Research Guide: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Articles

When you find a source, you should critically evaluate it to determine if it is useful and usable.

Types of Articles.

You will most often be asked to use a certain type of source: Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed, Academic, or Refereed.

What is the difference?

While some disciplines and databases may differ in their designations, these are the general definitions:


These terms are interchangeable and simply mean they are articles meant for a scholarly/academic audience and are typically written by scholars and academics.


These terms are also interchangeable and describe the process the article goes through before it is published.  It will be reviewed by "peers" or other scholars and academics familiar with the topic before it is accepted, sent back for revisions, or rejected for publication.

Why do I need to know this?

  • It is helpful to understand why many faculty prefer you use these types of articles.
  • You use articles and other sources to provide evidence of or support for your claims.  Using these types of articles ensures you are using quality sources to do that.

Ways to Determine Type of Article

• Use a database
Databases have tools that can help you narrow results to scholarly and/or peer review
• Google the source/publication title
–Journal information
–About this journal
If you Google the source/publication title and go to their webpage, look for Journal Information or About This Journal and it will tell you if it is scholarly, and/or peer-reviewed.

Ulrich's is a database that has information on every published journal.  To check a publication title, search for its title and look for the icon above.  That signifies it is Refereed AKA peer reviewed.


Evaluating Criteria

Evaluate any source you find by looking at these 5 areas

and asking these questions.

Evaluation Criteria