University Library at St. Cloud State University

Academic Research - Evaluating and Managing Research

Working with Academic Sources
There are several components to working with academic sources.
  1. First, you must select appropriate resources for your topic.
  2. Then you must evaluate the resources you find to ensure that they are authoritative, unbiased, and highly relevant to your research needs.
  3. You should also collect and manage your resources in a way that makes it easy to locate and utilize them when you begin drafting your paper.
  4. Next, be sure to read  your sources critically in order to effectively incorporate the content into your own research and writing. 
  5. Finally, you will need to make sure you have enough information from your sources to accurately cite them, both within your paper (in-text citations), as well as at the end of your paper (Works Cited list).
Evaluating Information for Academic Quality
Once you have searched for and located information, you must evaluate your results to determine which resources to use for your research assignments. One method for evaluating information is the CRAAP Test (from the Meriam Library at California State University Chico). CRAAP stands for:

The timeliness of the information.
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Authority: The source of the information.
The reliability, truthfulness, objectivity, and correctness of the informational content.
Purpose: The reason the information exists.

Evaluating Resources - Western Libraries - Western University
Scholarly vs. Popular Materials Guide
Scholarly vs. Popular Materials Guide helps you determine if an article is from a popular, scholarly, or trade periodical.
Scholarly vs. Popular Guide
What is a Scholarly Article?


What is a Scholarly Article? - Kimbel Library -.Coastal Carolina University

How to Read Academic Literature and More
Academic and scholarly resources are quite different and sometimes difficult to read. The sources below can prove helpful in developing your approach to academic reading.

Managing Academic Reading - University of Reading

How to Summarize a Research Article - University of Connecticut

How to Read and Review a Scientific Journal Article - DUKE University

How to Read a Social Science Research Article - University of California, Berkeley

Primary vs. Secondary Resources
Do you need primary or secondary resources?  Do you know the difference?

Primary vs. Secondary Sources - History Videos 100
Collect and Manage your Sources
Keeping track of your resources in an orderly manner can help to minimize confusion and frustration when you're trying to incorporate research materials into your paper and reduce your chances of plagiarism. One tool to help you do this is RefWorks. When you are searching library databases, you may select resources for your research and create citations while using the database, export them to your RefWorks account, or use a variety of resources to assist you as you build your bibliography (Works Cited).

Citation Styles
Consult examples of APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and other citation styles, and use Mendeley or Zotero to manage your references and format your bibliography.  
This free management tool allows you to organize your information including files for your PDFs and research notes.  Available for phones, tablets, and computers, syncs between multiple devices. 

Write & organize research notes securely online

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use, standalone software program that works with Firefox, Chrome and Safari. It allows users to collect, manage, and cite your research sources (similar to RefWorks).

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