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Economics 101: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources

General criteria are available to help determine if periodicals and journals are scholarly, often called peer-reviewed journals, practitioner / professional journals, or popular magazines.

Consider such things as:

Authority - Who wrote the article? What qualifications or credentials do they have regarding subject?

Content - What style of writing is used? Is it objective or trying to sell you something? Is it fact or opinion?

Audience - Who is the intended reader? What reading level is the article (advanced, general)?

Citation - Is the article properly cited? Does it have a bibliography or footnotes?

Review Process - Has the article been reviewed by subject specialists?


  • When was the article written, published, or posted?
  • Is the information the most current or is there updated information?
  • Is it a historical piece?
  • Are all links active? 


  •  Is the article on topic? 
  • Does this article relate to your research question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is it advanced or basic information? 


  • Who is the author or publisher?
  • What are their qualifications/credentials?
  • Is the author an "expert" on this topic?
  • Is there contact information?
  • What is the URL (.com .edu .gov . org)? 


  • Is the information truthful, reliable, or correct?
  • Is this information that cannot be proven anywhere else?
  • Has the information been reviewed?
  • Is there a bias to the writing (emotional language used)?
  • Are there many spelling errors? 


  • Why was this information written?
  • Was the purpose to inform, convince, entertain, sell something?
  • Is this a propaganda or opinion piece?
  • Is the writing influenced by political, ideological, or personal bias? 

scholarly journal

Information Sources

Journal Articles

Internet Resources

Is it fake news?

When doing research, sometimes it is hard to tell if the information you are reading is true or fake. How can you tell? Here is a link to the LibGuide that goes over everything you need to know about fake news and how to spot it! 

FAKE NEWS: Resources for Evaluating Information 

Reviewing Journal Type

Characteristics: Scholarly / Peer Reviewed Journals



Written by experts in the field

Author credentials are noted, affiliation detailed

Peer reviewed

Writing is well researched, advanced reading level

Abstracts and/or summaries

Contains data, charts, and graphics

Article often is lengthy, multiple pages

Citations, references, and/or bibliography are presented

No advertisements

Published by professional organization

Click on the journal cover to find Full-Text Access. Closer look


Closer Look: Scholarly Journal Article


scholarly journal



Icon made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

Characteristics: Practitioner Journals / Trade Publications 




Written by professionals in the field

Author credentials are noted, affiliation detailed

Reviewed by journal editors

Writing is professional, vocabulary specific to field

General abstract or summary provided

May contain data, charts, and/or graphics

Article is several pages long

Citations, references and/or bibliography may be presented

May contain advertisements specific to journal or field

Published by professional organization


Closer lookClick on the journal cover to view Full-Text access. 

Closer Look: Practitioner Journal Article


looking at professional journals


Characteristics: Popular Magazine


psychology today

 time magazine

Written by magazine staff and/or journalists

Author credentials are not presented, noted as by-line

Edited and revised by staff

Writing is less formal, highly readable

Introduction or teaser header to article in place

Contains photographs and/or illustrations

Article may be single page or portion of a page

No citations or references are in place

Numerous advertisements are presented

Published commercially


Closer lookClick on the journal cover to view it in Academic Search Complete.


Closer Look: Popular Magazine


elements of popular magazine article




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