Search and writing assistance

Students with computers in the library.Here you can find information which is particularly useful for students who want general support with their academic studies. On the library website there is more information about other services and support offered by the library.

Evaluate texts

Evaluating texts is an essential part of searching for scholarly information while writing theses and other academic texts. It is particularly important on the internet where anyone can publish their work without being reviewed.

What type of text is it?

To evaluate the material you find it is important that you are familiar with different types of texts. At the university it is often required that you refer to scholarly texts, such as scholarly articles, which means that you need to know what characterizes them. Read more on the pages What is a scholarly article and Different types of texts.

What types of texts that count as scholarly and credible may vary slightly depending on the traditions in the subject you are studying. Common characteristics are, however, that the text is written by a researcher, that the target audience is researchers and that the text has been reviewed by researchers. It should also aim to introduce new knowledge, be published in a scholarly context, be clearly structured and contain references to previous research.

Useful questions for evaluation

Author Is the author of the text an expert within the field? Does he/she, for example, have a relevant academic degree and where is he/she employed?
Target audience For which group of readers is the text intended – for example, the general public, students or researchers?
Aim Is the text's purpose to advocate a certain viewpoint, present the results from a scholarly study or something else? Is the text neutral or biased?
Context Is the text, for example, published at a university or in a peer reviewed scholarly journal? 
Time When was the text last updated? Is the information up-to-date? Is it the latest edition?
Structure Is the text well structured? Does it describe the purpose, methodology and conclusions of the text?
References Does the text contain references to other scholarly texts? Who has linked or referred to the text?
Review Has the text been been reviewed by other researchers before being published, so called peer review?