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Worth consideration

How do we differentiate between periodicals?

  • Examine the language used. Does the author use professional jargon or more casual language? The style and level of writing can hint at the targeted population.
  • What references are listed in the text and bibliography: are they academics and respected professionals? Does the paper cite its resources?
  • Who is the publisher? Is it a university or academic press, or is it a commercial press?
  • Examine the graphics used: are they cited graphs and maps, or are they advertisements and pictures?

Citation analysis

Citation analysis is a method of evaluating articles by determining how many times the article or author has been cited by researchers. Several databases ( Google Scholar, Thompson Reuters’ Web of Knowledge, etc.) offer the ability to examine citation use.


An excellent way to evaluate books and articles is by reading critical reviews. For the best search results you should have the author, title, and date information.

Several databases offer a significant amount of book reviews:
There are also databases that offer reviews of articles: Annual Reviews, etc.
For more information on reviews by subject, visit the "Reviews" tab.


Research is a continuous process. For the benefit of both you and your research, it is important to keep current with your subject:

  • Create email alerts on your search criteria in databases.
  • Sign up for RSS feeds of blogs, websites, and databases in your field.
  • Join professional and academic associations:
  • Sign up for association Listservs, which can be found at:
  • Pay attention to upcoming and recent conferences in your research subject and within your profession.