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Dissertation support

Evaluating sources

Academic sources

It is very important in academic writing and assignments to ensure that you only include quality, academic or appropriate source material. Academic books and articles have usually gone through a number of quality checks before being published. This includes review by a panel of the author's peers who are commissioned by the publisher.

The Library's electronic journal collections, e.g. FIAF, allow you to search just for scholarly, or peer reviewed articles. This means that all of the results from your search will be of an appropriate standard that can be used as sources for your assignments.

General online sources

The internet has a wealth of valuable material freely available for use in your assignments, like statistics, commentaries and blogs. Evaluating the material you have found on the internet is especially important as anyone can publish, unrestricted, on the web.

When evaluating material that you want to use in your assignment you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who has written it? What is their reputation, or affiliation?
  • Who has published it? Is it a reputable academic publisher?
  • Is it peer reviewed?
  • Is the information current for your purposes?
  • Is there bias evident?
  • Who is the intended audience? Is it written at an appropriate level?

The questions relating to currency, bias and by whom the page has been published are particularly important.

Key resources

  • Revise basic search skills and learn how to develop a search strategy or find out about researching at other institutions (inc. COPAC & using EDUROAM Wi-Fi)

Further skills

  • Find help to complete a literature review and find other dissertations skills resources
  • Develop skills to carry out interviews for your research

Vacation support