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Master of Design

Assessing Resources

Books: Ask these questions to assess for scholarly content. Generally the library evaluates the content of print material before ordering items and placing them in the collection. Some things to look for:

  • Is the book published by a University Press Publisher?
  • Credentials of author or editor:  are they an expert in the field, a professor? Conduct some investigations to find out.
  • Are there citations and a bibliography?
  • Are there reviews of the book by the author’s peers?

Journal Articles: If you are searching for articles in certain library databases (EBSCO and Proquest) you can limit searches for scholarly articles.

  • Is the journal published by a University Press or Professional Organization?
  • Are the author’s credentials included?
  • Does the article include citations and a bibliography?
  • Does the article have an abstract?
  • Is the journal mostly text (with some illustration and tables)?

Trade Publications: A magazine type publication containing information on new technology / new practices in a specific field.

  • Created by and for people in a specific industry.
  • May contain a lot of jargon.
  • Are the articles unbiased or promoting products?

Websites: Websites can be useful tools for accessing information. Keep in mind though that information on the Internet is not always current, accurate or authoritative. Ask questions like:

  • Who made and maintains this site ? What are their credentials ? Is the information current ?
  • What is the domain name of the site?
  • Sites with .edu and .gov should provide credible information but may only show sanctioned information.
  • Is there an about page on the site that states who made it?
  • Is it the official site of a professional association?

Peer Review

Watch this short video for a quick introduction to Peer Review

Before an article is published, it must be read and approved by a board of scholars who are experts in the field. These referees decide whether it is should be included in a scholarly journal or whether changes are needed before it is published. 

RESEARCH ARTICLES: Peer Reviewed, Scholarly, Academic

  • are published in ACADEMIC or SCHOLARLY journals
  • include AUTHORITATIVE bibliography and detailed footnotes or endnotes.
  • these articles advance scholarship or critical dialogue in a field of study for an academic audience
  • authors use scientific methodologies or theories to shape research findings

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