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CAAMP-PADL Source Evaluation: At a Glance


Header with the text: Currency


When evaluating a source, check to see when the article was published. Publication dates are helpful in determining whether the resource provides information about current research projects. In STEM, there is an emphasis on using the most up to date research available, so look for more recent publications. 

Guiding questions

  • When was the content written? 
  • Is this this most recent and up-to-date research available?


Header with the text: Material Type


Databases provide a wide range of materials. It is important to recognize that different literature types (magazines, journals, etc.) have different roles to play when conducting research. For example, magazines and trade publications are helpful when collecting background information, but scholarly, peer-reviewed sources are best for academic projects. 

Guiding questions

  • What type of resource is this? 
  • Does this resource type align with my scholarly goals? 


Header with the text: Audience


Authors write with a particular audience in mind. Think of audience as the group of people whom the work is intended to reach. Similar to Material Type and Purpose, different publication types have various goals, and each publication type also has its own audience. 

Guiding questions

  • Who is the work's intended audience? 
  • Is the work's level of scholarship appropriate for your project? 


Header with the text: Authority & Author


Anyone is able to write and publish content online. When choosing resources for your work, consult authors who have substantiated research and educational experience in the discipline. 

Guiding questions

  • Is the author an expert in the field? 
  • Does the author use a systematic research approach? 
  • What makes the author and/or authority a leader in the discipline? 


Header with the text: Publisher


Publishers play a key role in making information available for both recreation and research. When selecting resources, it is important to identify who published the resource, because not all publishers provide reliable information. 

Guiding questions

  • Who published the resource? 
  • Is the publisher an authority in the discipline? 


Header with the text: Data


In STEM, data is especially important, as research projects are grounded in collecting, analyzing, and writing about data. Because of data's central role, it is crucial that data is meticulously recorded, ethically analyzed, and transparently reported. 

Guiding questions

  • Who collected the data and how was the data collected? 
  • How is data provided and interpreted? 
  • Does the data provided support the author's claims? 


Header with the text: Accuracy


Accurate resources are written by field experts, cite scholarly sources, describe the research methodology employed, and transparently provide data that was collected or used in the study. 

Guiding questions

  • Can I verify this information in another scholarly source? 
  • Are citations provided in the work? 
  • Is the resource peer-reviewed? 


Header with the text: Purpose


Every author has an intended purpose for their work. An author might write to inform, persuade, entertain, express or reflect upon new ideas, or to teach, among others. When selecting resources, choose materials that have a similar purpose to your goals. For example, if you are writing a scientific literature review, choose scholarly materials over magazine articles. 

Guiding questions

  • Why did the author write this work? 
  • What are the author's main claims? Are the author's claims supported by multiple sources? 
  • Are there any obvious conflicts of interest in the author's writing?


Header with the text: Lateral Reading


Lateral reading is the process of looking to other creditable sources to verify what you have read in another article. Lateral reading helps to determine if a source is creditable and accurate, and to see if there is consensus in the field. As you are researching, it is a good idea to have another browser tab open to run quick searches about the resources and authors that you are consulting. 

Guiding questions

  • What do other scholarly sources say about the topic? 
  • Is there consensus across multiple resources?