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Economics Resources at the UTM Library

A subject guide listing library resources for students enrolled in courses offered by the Department of Economics at UTM.

Evaluating Sources

It is essential to critically evaluate the source materials you find. Not all sources, whether electronic or print, provide trustworthy information. Appropriate source materials for your assignments include scholarly books and articles, as well as websites such as government and company websites. 

 

HINT: It’s often easier to find relevant, quality scholarly books and articles through the library’s resources! Find useful resources for your case study and seminar assignments in the Economics Resources tab on the left. 

Identifying Scholarly Articles

Popular articles...

  • Are written by journalists or professional writers
  • Are written for a general, non-scholarly audience
  • Use language easily understood by general readers
  • Tend to be shorter
  • Rarely cite sources
  • Do not have abstracts
  • May refer to research but is not intended for scholarly communication

 

On the other hand, scholarly articles...

  • Are written by experts (faculty, researchers, scholars), with credentials provided
  • Are written for experts
  • Use technical language that is discipline-specific
  • Tend to be longer
  • Include a bibliography or references
  • Usually have an abstract
  • Report results of original research or analyzes or interprets other research

 

There is one more key difference between scholarly and popular articles: scholarly articles are often published in peer-reviewed journals.

Peer-Review

Many, but not all scholarly journals are peer-reviewed. Peer review is a process that evaluates the quality of articles submitted for a given. The evaluation is done by a panel of experts - or peers of the author – and the review process can be quite lengthy (articles can go through multiple rounds of review and even then, not be accepted for publication).

Peer-reviewers evaluate the article on:

  • Originality of the research: what new findings or insights does it present?
  • Validity of the research: are the findings reasonable?  What evidence supports the conclusions drawn?
  • Methodology: is the methodology sound? Appropriate?
  • Significance: what is the impact? How does it advance knowledge within a given discipline

Peer review functions like a kind of quality assurance process. In theory, it ensures only the best research is published in a given journal.

 

See the Understanding Peer Review guide prepared by the University of Toronto Scarborough Library for more information about the peer-review process, searching for peer-reviewed articles and recognizing scholarly articles. 

Using Ulrichsweb to Identify Peer-Reviewed Articles

Some databases allows for limiting search results to peer-reviewed articles. However, if the database you are using does not, you will need to do some research to find out whether your article is peer-reviewed or not.

Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory is a great tool to help you identify whether an article is peer-reviewed or not.

To find out whether an article is peer-reviewed or not using Ulrichsweb:‚Äč

1. Open Ulrichsweb

2. Type the JOURNAL title (not the article title) in the search bar and click the green search button.

3. In the search results, look for a referee jersey icon to indicate that a journal is refereed, which is a synonym for peer-reviewed.

 

4. You can also click on the journal title to see the full record. If you see "Refereed Yes", then you know the journal (and the articles publishing in it) are refereed/peer-reviewed.