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Evaluating Your Results

Top 3 Things to Check on an Article in Your Search Results

1. Click on the article title to go into the information about the article. Scroll down to the paragraph marked "Abstract." This is a short summary of the article! It's important to read through this and make sure that the article actually matches your topic. 

2. There are some hyperlinked words in the same spot called "Descriptors." These are the formal words being used to describe this article. You might find some new search words here! 

3. Click on the article title to go into the information about the article. There will be a line called "Peer reviewed." If the article is from a peer-reviewed journal, there will be a "Y" on this line. It's good to check for this when evaluating your results to make sure the article is from a high quality source.


Other Things to Check When Evaluating Your Search Results:

1. Is the article less than a page? It might just be a book review or letter to the editor. Most high quality articles are at least 3 pages.

2. Does the author cite their sources/is there a reference or works cited area at the bottom of the article? (This is also a great place to find more papers on your topic!)

3. Is the article listed as being in English (or a language you can read scholarly papers in fluently)? Sometimes the abstract/article summary will be English but the article will be in another language. Check the Language note in the record, especially before requesting an article. 

4. When was the article created? Something from 1890 might not be helpful for your project. Many instructors recommend something from the last 10-20 years to reflect changes in the field. 

5. Who created the article? In ERIC, you can see the university or research facility listed next to the author's name (their credentials or background). This helps you to know that the author has knowledge and experience with this topic. 


Parts of a Search Result to Check Before Reading Article!

Shows an example of a search result: Parts highlighted for emphasis are Descriptors, Abstract, Peer Reviewed, and Number of Pages.