Guide to Critical Thinking - Use this checklist to evaluate a potential information source and determine its suitability for your information needs.
Tools for Determining Bias - UW-Green Bay "What is Bias" Guide gives a good overview on how to evaluate sources and look for bias.
Sometimes we have problems meaning what we say and saying what we mean. If you would like to have someone work with you, contact the Writers Workshop. From their website: "The Writers Workshop, part of the Center for Writing Studies, is the writing center at Illinois. They provide free writing assistance for University of Illinois students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines and at all stages of the writing process. Discuss your writing with consultants who are experienced writers and teachers of writing. Call (217) 333-8796 or fill out this form to set up a 50-minute session.
If the Library does not have the book you need, or else the book you need is checked out, then you should next search the:
The library catalog can also help you find specific journals online or in print. If you already know which journal article you need, it's best to begin here. You can see whether the journal is available and where you can access it full-text:
Encyclopedias attempt to summarize the state of knowledge in a given field of inquiry. That field of inquiry is usually defined in the title. For example, the Encyclopedia of the Mexican American War summarizes what is known about this conflict (as of the date of the encyclopedia's publication!). Encyclopedias not only give you the broad overview of the field, but they often recommend sources (usually secondary sources, but sometimes also primary sources) to consult for further research.
What are primary sources?
If you are seeking to learn about the past, primary sources of information are those that provide first-hand accounts of the events, practices, or conditions you are researching. In general, these are documents that were created by the witnesses or first recorders of these events at about the time they occurred, and include diaries, letters, reports, photographs, creative works, financial records, memos, and newspaper articles (to name just a few types).
What is a scholarly resource?
Scholarly sources (also referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed) are written by experts in a particular field and serve to keep others interested in that field up to date on the most recent research, findings, and news. These resources will provide the most substantial information for your research and papers. When a source has been peer-reviewed it has undergone the review and scrutiny of a review board of colleagues in the author's field. They evaluate this source as part of the body of research for a particular discipline and make recommendations regarding its publication in a journal, revisions prior to publication, or, in some cases, reject its publication.