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BIOL 2120: Using Literature in Lab Reports

Evaluation Criteria

Use the following criteria to evaluate your sources. Remember: your ability to understand the resource is an important part of the evaluation process.

  • Currency

When was the information written? Does it matter to your research if the information is current, or is older information also useful?

  • Relevance

Does the information answer your question and meet your requirements? Is it entirely about your topic or are there just a few sentences about your topic? Is the information geared toward your level; is it too advanced or too elementary? If there is an abstract, scan the abstract. Does the description match your topic?

  • Authority

Who is the author/creator? Does he/she have a background that would suggest knowledge of the topic? Is the author associated with a reputable organization? Is contact or biographical information provided?

  • Accuracy

Where does the information come from? Is it backed up by evidence or just opinion? Is it substantiated in other sources? Are there misspellings and grammatical errors?

  • Purpose

Why was the information written? To inform? To persuade? To sell? Are the intentions of the article made clear? Is the information presented objectively? Are there any biases present?


Read more about this evaluative process, also known as the CRAAP test.

Reading in Science

The following resources can help you read and interpret scientific literature.