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ASTRO 1110: Exploring Our Cosmos (Fall 2015): Evaluate Sources

Is this an appropriate resource?

There are a lot of sources out there, and it's critical that you know how to evaluate what you find to determine whether it's suitable for your research. At a minimum, you should ask yourself:

  • Who wrote this? How can I determine whether it has reliable, trustworthy information?
  • What is the audience? Is it written for the general public or for academics?
  • Is this information relevant to my research?

Types of resources

Scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles are written by scholars or professionals who are experts in their fields. In the sciences and social sciences, they often publish research results.

Substantive news articles are reliable sources of information on events and issues of public concern.

Popular articles reflect the tastes of the general public and are often meant as entertainment.

Sensational intend to arouse strong curiosity, interest, or reaction. They are not factually accurate.

You can find more information about evaluating sources in the following guides:

Only have a minute?

Learn how to identify scholarly articles in this in this Research Minute video by Cornell librarians.

Learn how to identify substantive news articles in this Research Minute video by Cornell librarians.



Do you live off-campus?

If so, try using PassKey, designed to give Cornell community members access to licensed library resources while they are away from campus.

PassKey does not require any installation: Just click on the link or button below for more information on how to install and use it.


Guides from other libraries

You might find these other guides from other libraries helpful.


Material adapted from the following:

Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals by Michael Engle

Research & Learning Services
Olin Library
Cornell University Library
Ithaca, NY, USA