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Evaluating Resources

Before you commit your time to reading an article - Read laterally

Lateral reading is an approach utilized by fact checkers and involves researching the provenance of the information by opening tabs on a browser to investigate different elements of a piece of work. Vertical reading on the other hand, involves reading a piece of information (top to bottom) and not leaving the source to verify reliability. The latter approach may be better managed by a subject specialist.

Numerous tools are available to give you a better idea on the authority and reliability of an academic source. These tools should be used to inform your reading (vertical reading) and not necessarily eliminate the source from your reading list.

Publication Level  Assessment

  • Use journal evaluation resources to determine a journal's impact factor (relative importance of a journal within its field)

Article Level Assessment

  • Is it peer-reviewed (select peer-review option on library's single-search platform or investigate journal's website to verify this).
  • Use traditional citation indexes (Scopus and Web of Science) and research search engines like Semantic Scholar to evaluate the influence of an article.
  • Use alternative metrics (Altmetrics) available on different library and open access platforms to explore research engagement on different forums (including social media).

Conference Papers

Determine a researcher’s authority in the field (including H-index)