Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Link to Libraries homepage
Link to Libraries homepage
Rutgers University Libraries

Plant Physiology (21:120:330): Evaluating Resources

This guide was created specifically for Dr. Karina Schafer's class - Fall 2020

Ask a Librarian for Help

There are several ways to seek help from a librarian:

How to Evaluate Sources

You must evaluate all sources that you find - yes, even those found on library shelves or within the library’s databases!  So, what do you need to look for?

· Currency: publication dates can be important depending on whether you are doing a historical study or need to most recent information about your topic

· Relevancy: is the resource relevant to your topic (and the parameters of your assignment)?

· Authority: are the authors/editors/publishers considered credible and reliable?

o What are their credentials? 

o Are they considered experts in the field?  Do other scholars cite them?

· Accuracy: is the information valid?

o Do other sources say the same thing?

o What supporting evidence (e.g., references) is provided?

· Purpose: consider who the intended audience might be and how this could affect how the information is presented

o What is the context in which the information was created?

· Objectivity: could there be biases that might have an effect on the information presented?

o Who is funding/sponsoring the study?

o What are the author/editor’s affiliations?  Is it possible that political viewpoints and/or religious beliefs might affect their objectivity?

o Is there balanced coverage, where all aspects of the subject are discussed to the same level of detail?

o Is it just-the-facts being presented or an interpretation of the facts?

o Are assumptions or opinions being made without supporting evidence?

 


Also consider - is it "good" research?  Think about the following... 

o Design of study:  is the design appropriate to the problem/question being studied? 

o Data Collectors:  how qualified were they?

o Sampling:  how many "subjects" were studied and how were they chosen?

o Statistics:  how sound is the approach/method used?

     o Bias:  in sampling, due to sponsorship of research, etc.


TIP:  The general rule of thumb has been that .gov (and most .edu) Web sites are usually reliable; however, you should evaluate those just as you would the .org and .com sites!


Click on the links below for more information about evaluating information sources:

Physical Sciences Librarian

Bonnie Fong's picture
Bonnie Fong
Contact:
John Cotton Dana Library

185 University Ave

Newark, NJ 07102-1814

(973) 353-3811

Licensing Information

This guide is copyright-protected, but you are welcome to reuse it as per the license below (click for more details):

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers web sites to: accessibility@rutgers.edu or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback Form.