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Critical Thinking About Sources

How To Analyze Journal Articles

Is the article from a subject specific database?

Have you narrowed to peer reviewed, as necessary?

Review the article citation or abstract for basic information:

  • Author, Source publication, length, document type, subject terms.
  • Does this meet your needs?

 Review the Article Content

  • Is the article thoughtfully researched and presented, based on factual information?
  • Is the topic coverage marginal or extensive?
  • Is the article clearly organized, with subheadings and distinct parts like abstracts, overviews, analyses, introductions and conclusions?
  • Are the facts clearly presented?
  • Is material repeated?
  • Is the text written in lay terms, or the language of your discipline?
  • Is the article at an appropriate level—too technical, too easy
  • Does the article pose alternatives, or reach definitive conclusions?
  • Does the article include bibliographies, footnotes, citations?
  • Does the article refer to other experts and other studies?
  • Is the material primary or secondary in nature? 
  • Does the work add new insight on the topic or rehash older material?
  • Is the article dated? Current? Historical?
  • What is the relationship between the article title and the article text?
  • How relevant is the article to your topic: how many times is your topic mentioned in the text? In the title? In the subject line?
  • Is there an evident bias? Is the language inflammatory or impartial? Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • How long is the article? Is the length suitable to your needs—or is it too long or too short?           

What do you know about the publication’s reputation?

  • Has the publication received industry awards?
  • Do other authors and researchers frequently cite the publication?
  • How does the publication compare to the competition?
  • Is the publication mentioned as a key source for your discipline in reference materials?

Evaluating Journal Articles Video

This video uses the CAARP test to evaluate a journal article. This is the same as the CRAAP test found on the websites tab of this LibGuide.

Currency

Authority

Accuracy

Relevance

Purpose

Reading an Article Critically for Additional Sources

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