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This is the "Books vs Articles vs Websites" page of the "Evaluating Books, Scholarly & Non-Scholarly, Journals, Articles, Websites" guide.
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Evaluating Books, Scholarly & Non-Scholarly, Journals, Articles, Websites   Tags: credible source, evaluating, evaluating resources, evaluating websites, primary sources, radar, research  

Choosing the right sources for your research can be challenging. This guide presents information to help you determine what find of materials you need for your work and how to evaluate each source.
Last Updated: Jun 9, 2017 URL: http://cotr.libguides.com/evaluatingsources Print Guide RSS Updates

Books vs Articles vs Websites Print Page

About Sources

Choosing the right sources for your research can be challenging; however, these formats are more most common:

  • Books
  • Journals and Journal Articles
  • Websites

Advantages & Disadvantages


Advantages: Scholarly books contain authoritative information, and this can include comprehensive accounts of research or scholarship, historical data, overviews, experts' views on themes/topics. Use a book when you require background information and related research on a topic when you want to add depth to a research topic or put your topic in context with other important issues.

Disadvantages: Because it can take years, in some instances, to write and publish books, they are not always the best sources for a current topic.

Journal & Journal Articles

Advantages:  The articles found in many scholarly journals go through a "peer-review" process. In other words, the articles are checked by academics and other experts. The information is, therefore, reliable.  As well as containing scholarly information, journal articles can include reports and reviews of current research and topic-specific information.  Find more information about peer-review at "What is Peer-Reviewed?"

Use scholarly journals when you need original research on a topic; articles and essays are written by scholars or subject experts; factual documented information to reinforce a position; or references lists that point you to other relevant research. Scholarly journals take less time to publish than books, but the peer-review process can be lengthy. 

Disadvantages: Scholarly journals include information of academic interest, so they are not the best sources for general interest topics. Because the peer-review process can be time-consuming, they may not include up-to-the-minute news or current event information.


Advantages: Websites provide up-to-the-minute news and information on current events, trends, and controversial topics.  They may also contain government publications such as reports, statistics, legislation and service information; interviews, newspaper articles; research reports; conference/workshop/symposium papers; maps and other types of resources.   

Disadvantages:  Because anyone can publish anything on the web, website information is frequently inaccurate or biased, and sometimes outdated. Only a very limited amount of scholarly information is available on the open web.


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