EDS 568: Advanced Instruction Methods in Special Education

The library research guide for EDS 568

Where to Begin?

Evaluating sources means recognizing whether the information you read and include in your research is credible. Despite the large amount of information available, both in print and online, not all of it is valid, useful, or accurate. When writing research papers, not only will you be searching for information, but you will be evaluating the sources for credibility. You have to decide where to look, how to recognize credible sources, and how to cross-check your information. Source: Perdue OWL

Image of a skeptical scale in evaluating sources. From very skeptical (blogs) to much less skeptical (peer reviewed journals).

Image created by Norah Mazel

The ACT UP Method1  A - author. Who wrote the resource? Who are they? Background information matters.  C - currency. When was this resource written? When was it published? Does this resource fit into the currency of your topic?  T - truth. How accurate is this information? Can you verify any of the claims in other sources? Are there typos and spelling mistakes?  U - unbiased. Is the information presented to sway the audience to a particular point of view? Resources unless otherwise stated should be impartial.  P - privilege. Check the privilege of the author(s). Are they the only folks who might write or publish on this topic? Who is missing in this conversation? Critically evaluate the subject terms associated with each resource you found. How are they described? What are the inherent biases?

Fact Checking News

Not sure what information is fake or distorted? Try checking your headline or topic using a fact checker like Politifact or Snopes

For more factcheckers, see Berkeley Library's guide to fact checkers.

Test your ability to identify misinformation by taking a MIST (Misinformation Susceptibility Test)

Evaluating Websites

Evaluating Websites Image.  Evaluating digital content will help you navigate through websites. There is so much information available online and discerning between credible sources can be difficult. Almost all journals are now available digitally, as are most government reports. How do you know which sources are okay to use? when was it created? How recent is the work? Whose site is it on? Who is the author? What type of website is it? Is the website on an official government website such as Does the site end which usually is a non-profit? What is the content? What else is on the site? Are there ads or promotional items on the page? Is the site legit? There are many news and government websites that are actually hoax sites made to look like legitimate sites.

Journal Rankings & Citation Counts

Seeing how many times an article has been cited or how many times a particular journal has been cited can help to evaluate the authority of the work you may be deciding to include in your research. 

Use Google Scholar to find out how many times an article has been cited. 

Image of Google Scholar with Citation counts.


Use Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) to see how many times a journal has been cited and its global ranking. 

Image of SJR website with journal total cites.