It is up to you to determine the credibility and relevance of any source, whether you find it with a Google search, in the library or on social media. Remember that the credibility and relevance of a source depends on your purpose.
1. Before you search, consider the purpose of your search, who your audience is and what would make credible evidence. By doing so, you'll know what source type you need and which tool you should use to find it.
Step 2: When you find a source, dig in deeply. Find out everything you can about that source, including who wrote it and what their expertise is to write about the source. Look at where and why it was published/posted/hosted and consider whether that has any impact on how biased the source is. Check to see where they got their information and determine whether you think their information sources are credible. Check to see when it was published/posted. Is it outdated or current enough for your purposes?
Step 3: Read laterally, like a fact checker. Now that you've dug deeply into the source itself, leave the source and look elsewhere. What are other people saying/writing about the topic? Can you corroborate? Is there controversy? Is there newer information that would impact your trust in that source? Did you learn anything about the author that make you question their expertise?
You may be asked to look for peer-reviewed, research, scholarly, referred or academic articles - all names for the same type of source. What are they? These articles go through the peer-review process before they are published. A scholar/researcher/professor submits their article to a journal and it is sent to other experts in the field (peers) to ensure that they contain high-quality, original research important to the field. This is a measure of quality control other types of articles don't go through.
If you can't tell whether or not a journal is peer-reviewed, check Ulrichsweb.
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