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Behavioral Science: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Statistical Information

When you evaluate statistical information for its credibility, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who gathered the data?
  • Do the statistics show any bias? Did the author/authors have a special interest in the data collected or results?
  • Why was it gathered?
  • How was it analyzed?
  • When was the data gathered? Check the time period.
  • What sampling technique was used?
  • Are you looking at the original presentation of the data, or a re-packaged version?
  • Does it make sense?

Popular vs. Scholarly Journals

Finding quality, reliable sources can be a challenge especially with the amount and kinds of information available to you. Even when accessing books and articles through the library, you still need to ask yourself if the information comes from a scholarly resources.

Please look at the handout below for some helpful tips on evaluating what kind of resources you have found.

Evaluating a Website

When searching the Internet, you will find an overwhelmingly vast amount of information including scholarly research, news, opinions, blogs and other social networking sites.

It can be very challenging to determine if a website is a reliable source to use for your research or assignments. You will need to ask yourself some questions to be able to distinguish good accurate information from biased, uninformed ideas.

Please check out the guide below on how to evaluate a website for research purposes. If  you have questions, please contact the reference desk at or 256-216-6661.


Finding Peer Reviewed Articles

This Quick Guide will show you how to find a peer-reviewed article.