For every assignment, and every research question, there is a different set of parameters for determing if information and sources are appropriate and useful.
Consider this statement: There is no such thing as an objectively good or bad source. There are only sources that are good or bad for YOUR research.
There are many different criteria that you need to consider in evaluating if information should be included in your research, or not. You can find a few guiding questions below.
Still not sure if your source is appropriate for your assignment? Reach out to your professor or your course librarians.
**Definition of a scholarly or "peer-reviewed article"
Scholarly journals are also called academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed journals. Strictly speaking, peer-reviewed (also called refereed) journals refer only to those scholarly journals that submit articles to several other scholars, experts, or academics (peers) in the field for review and comment. These reviewers must agree that the article represents properly conducted original research or writing before it can be published.
Scholarly journal articles often have an abstract, a descriptive summary of the article contents, before the main text of the article.
Scholarly journals generally have a sober, serious look. They often contain many graphs and charts but few glossy pages or exciting pictures.
Scholarly journals always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. These bibliographies are generally lengthy and cite other scholarly writings.
Articles are written by a scholar in the field or by someone who has done research in the field. The affiliations of the authors are listed, usually at the bottom of the first page or at the end of the article--universities, research institutions, think tanks, and the like.
The language of scholarly journals is that of the discipline covered. It assumes some technical background on the part of the reader.
The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report on original research or experimentation in order to make such information available to the rest of the scholarly world.
Many scholarly journals, though by no means all, are published by a specific professional organization.