5.1 Scholarly material

When doing an assignment it is essential to use books, journal articles and other materials that are of university standard. You must then know how to citeCite, (v), quote a book or author as evidence for an argument and reference Reference, (n), the action of referring these sources properly.

With any material you locate, be it print or electronic, always remember to evaluate it! Be cautious about using resources such as Wikipedia and Google. These popular, non-refereed resources often contain articles of poor scholarship and are not authoritative. Here is a checklist to evaluate a source:

  • Check the author's credentials and affiliation. Is the author an expert in the field?
  • Does the author use scholarly methods, acknowledge sources and provide bibliographies?
  • Are the sources of information stated? Can you verify the information?
  • What is the target audience? Obviously you don't want material designed for school students.
  • Is the information reliable?
  • Does it contain organisational or author biases?
  • Is the information current to your specific topic?