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Community & Human Services: Evaluate Sources

You need to critically evaluate ALL information sources, whether from the web, in print, your professor, or the library. You want to make sure you are finding literature that represents ALL the viable (and potentially conflicting) perspectives on your topic. You also need to critically evaluate each piece of information you intend to use in your research for:

  1. reliability (see Rat TRAP handout below),
  2. to make sure it meets the needs of your assignment, and
  3. to see if it provides supporting evidence for the arguments/ideas in your paper. 

Techniques and details here:

Reading Scholarly Sources

IMPORTANT: scholarly articles are written by and for experts. They are very narrow in focus. For example: you will likely not find scholarly sources about all aspect of something like "human services" or "counseling for abused children." This doesn't necessarily mean you need to change your topic. It does mean that you will often need to locate multiple articles that only discuss parts of your topic (for example, one article may discuss music therapy techniques for abuse children, while another may cover legal aspects of working with abused children), and then collect useful knowledge from those articles in order to understand and write about the broader paper topic of counseling abused children.