Dr. Alex E. Blazer Curriculum Vita Teaching Portfolio

Evaluation for Literary Research

This handout establish criteria for evaluating print and web sources in the literary research process.


First we need to establish criteria for evaluating works of criticism in general.  When reading research materials in the library, some materials present themselves as more effective sources for academic papers than others in terms of timeliness, authoritative content, and audience.


Print Sources

The best sources of scholarly criticism and interpretation in print are books and journals. Book reviews in magazines and newspapers provide general overviews; however, for the most part, they do not offer sustained analytical readings. Ask yourself these questions in order to evaluate the usefulness and validity of the piece's interpretation.


Web Sources

When evaluating a web page, it is important to identify the credibility of the page from the start. Looking at things such as author, content, and appearance help you to determine exactly what sort of page you're looking at.  While many pages may look good (using fancy logos and images), the page may not necessarily be credible.

These questions start out the same as those evaluating a print source but they go beyond questions of interpretation and evidence because reading web pages for scholarly purposes is a somewhat new process and because web sources are to a greater extent self-published and thus generally don't undergo the degree of peer review that print sources do, save possibly for university sites.  Another way to think of this is: because an author has to prove her theories to many people to get published, readers can safely assume a certain level of authority and validity when evaluating a scholarly journal or book.  But any anonymous bozo can publish a web site; therefore, the researcher must be more weary when initially investigating a site.

First Impressions

Trustworthy Authorship and Affiliation

Overall Evaluation

Comparison of Print

and Web Sources