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English Studies: Literature

Evaluating your sources

There are different types of scholarly texts within your subject. The most common ones are books, chapters, articles and dissertations. Sometimes it can be hard to determine if the text you have found is a legitimate source and in what context it can be used.

To help you decide if a source is appropriate four your essay you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is the author? Is the author affiliated with a university or other research institution?
  • Does the text cite other scholarly materials?
  • Is the content relevant to your research question? Can you use the text to support your own claims? 
  • Has the text been refereed/peer reviewed? Remember, usually only articles published in scholarly journals have been peer reviewed. In literary research it is common to publish your findings in other formats, such as dissertations, books or book chapters. Just because a source is not peer review it does not mean that it is not scholarly.

In this film you can learn more about how to tell if an article is peer reviewed and get some tips on how to read a scholarly article: