Evaluating Academic Sources

What is evaluating sources?

Much of university life is based on good research skills. Of course, like all good skills it needs practice and strategies to be effective and efficient. At first, many students find it difficult to identify credible and trustworthy sources that can be used in their essays and assignments. However, a good knowledge of evaluative source tools (like the C.R.A.A.P Test) and understanding in the principles of the Peer Review Process are both highly beneficial in identifying key sources.  

A guide to evaluating sources (The C.R.A.A.P Test)

The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. The different criteria of the C.R.A.A.P Test is a really important guide on what you need for your assignment / research / or evidence.

The C.R.A.A.P Test

PDF Download of The CRAAP Test – Download here

Evaluating Information Video by University of South Australia

This video describes the key points / questions of the C.R.A.A.P test and helps you understand how to use it to evaluate whether a source is academically credible.


The C.R.A.A.P Test: A guide to evaluating sources – UoSA

This University of South Australia video explains what the C.R.A.A.P Test is and how to use it to evaluate all types of information. This worksheet helps students to understand what is considered to be a ‘credible’ source and how to check this using an evaluation tool Example. Level: ***** [B2/C1]  /  Video [03.17] / MP3TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

Peer Review Process

The journal peer review process is an arduous and time-consuming procedure that involves a set of principles to ensure journal articles are reviewed to a very high standard. In fact, it is quite common for journals to reject up to 90% of the articles they receive. Wiley, a journal article producer, uses the below model to review potential scholarly articles.
The Peer Review Process

Peer Review Video – by NC State University

This informative video highlights how an academic scholar submits an article to a journal publishing company and the ‘Peer Review Process’ it goes through before it is published. There is a worksheet that accompanies the video to help consolidate the process.

The Academic Journal Peer Review Process – NC State University

This NC State university video explains how an academic scholar submits a research paper to a journal publishing company and the full process the article goes through before it is published. This listening and worksheet helps students to understand what is considered to be a credible source and why. Example  Level: ***** [B2/C1]  /  Video [03.15]  / MP3 /TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP


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 Credible Academic Sources

Credible sources

What types of sources should I use for writing academic essays?

Credible sources are generally texts that can be trusted and authoritative. These would be texts with support in terms of reliable evidence (facts, data, statistics) and often referring to previous work by academic authors. The most common credible sources are scholarly journals, conference papers and books because these have been peer-reviewed (read and approved for publication by other authors). However, there are good websites that can be used; generally ending in .gov / .edu / .ac.

Primary and Secondary Sources

Two types of sources: Primary and Secondary. A primary source is the main source of evidence. This can be raw data, records and key facts. A secondary source draws on the primary data and analyses it.

Key questions to ask when evaluating source material

Is there an author? Date?

Is there evidence? Where is it from? Sourced?

Is there a reference list? And in-text referencing?

Generally, there shouldn’t be glossy pictures or advertising.

It should be written in an academic formal style.

Reading & Research Skills: What is a credible source?

This lesson highlights the key components of identifying credible and reliable resources. It includes a check list on 20 different sources and students have to decide whether these are credible or not. Page link  Level ***** [B1/B2] TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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