Before deciding whether or not to incorporate what you have found into your literature review, you need to evaluate the resources to make sure that they contain information which is valuable and pertinent. This is especially true when the resources you retrieved are not collected by an academic library, but conveniently accessible through Internet search. Web resources need more careful thought to ensure their quality. Thus it is always a good practice to begin your search using CityU LibraryFind and databases for more authoritative and reliable resources.
Accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency and coverage are the five basic criteria for evaluating information from any sources.
|Questions to ask:|
It has been mentioned on "The Literature" page of this guide that a literature review generally consists of scholarly works. In addition to dissertations and theses, scholarly journal articles are another important sources to be incorporated in a literature review.
Many Library databases contain articles of various types of periodicals, including scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers. Most of these databases allow you to further limit your search results to "Scholarly Articles" so that you can view only academic research articles that in general report current original research.
The document below assists you in distinguishing scholarly journals from non-scholarly journals:
Bearing in mind that the Web is a vast network of unfiltered information sources, (i.e., anyone can put anything on it, bypassing editorial or peer review). It is of utmost importance that we evaluate information on the Web before it is used and cited.
Here are some quick hints that can help you decide whether the information given in a particular web page is reliable or not:
For more about evaluating information, visit the following sites:
Evaluating Sources for Credibility, from North Carolina State University Libraries.
Critically Analyzing Information Sources, from Research & Learning Serivces, Olin Library, Cornell University Library.
Evaluating Webpages, Techiques to Apply and Questions to Ask, from University of California, Berkeley.
Your literature review should be critical rather than simply descriptive. You should therefore take a critical approach when reading your sources. Refer to the "Academic Reading" page of this guide to learn more about reading skills.