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CST 110: Introduction to Communication (Hurley-Loudoun)

This guide has been created by librarians to help you find books, articles, videos, and other types of resources related to this program of study. Direct comments to Michael English,

Evaluating Sources

There are many sources of information -- websites, books, magazines, journals, newspapers, friends -- and which sources you use depends on your information needs and your assignment requirements.

Always evaluate your sources, even if they come from the library.

For your college research needs, think about whether the source is scholarly or popular

Which is more reliable for college research?

  • Scholarly sources typically are considered more reliable, due to the expertise of the authors and the rigorous review and editing process. 
  • However, popular sources can also be reliable and appropriate, though you may find more opinions there. They also do not typically discuss a topic in as much depth as a scholarly source would. 

Scholarly articles are not always better than popular ones.  Sometimes a newspaper or magazine will serve you better than a peer-reviewed article.  To make the best use of sources, take the time to evaluate them and determine whether they are truly useful for you.

Assessing Credibility of Sources

You should be able to answer ‘yes’ to ALL of the following questions about each source in your research.  If you are unsure or need help answering these, consult a librarian.  For those with visual impairment, an accessible Word document is available at the bottom of the page.

Characteristics of Scholarly & Popular Sources