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History Resources: Evaluating Sources

Online Video

Thoughts on Wikipedia



 Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, has made finding background information incredibly easy.  But if you are planning to use it as a key resource for your research beware:

  • Wikipedia and other encylopedias (whether in print or online) do not qualify as scholarly resources. 
  • Encyclopedias are a good place to start your research, but not are generally not considered acceptable sources to cite.
  • The collaborative and dynamic nature of Wikipedia presents a number of additional concerns regarding the quality and authority of the entries. 


Evaluating Sources

Carp Test

Finding information & sources generally isn't a problem for students -- finding quality, reliable sources tends to be more of a challenge. 

It's important for you to take the time to evaluate the sources you discover in the course of your research.

The C.A.R.P. Test is one way of evaluating information, by focusing on the Currency, Relevance, Authority & Purpose or Point-of-View. 

Popular vs. Scholarly

Popular or Scholarly handout    

An important step in evaluating a resource is determining if it is considered scholarly.  This distinction will need to be made for books, as well as articles. 

The online handout Popular or Scholarly? covers the content from the Scholarly vs. Popular Tutorial. 

If you find that you are still having difficulty, ask your professor or consult with a librarian.