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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Information Sciences 505: Information Organization and Access: Evaluate Information

Introduces basic resources and concepts for assignments in IS 505.

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating information

Information varies in quality, so you need to approach it critically.  Different disciplines and sub-fields value different types of information, and what constitutes "good" information often depends on the context and the use to which it will be put.  However, the following "hierarchy of evidence" applies in many cases.

 Published peer-reviewed research (the gold standard)

    Accepted standards

      Authoritative synthesis (e.g. signed encyclopedia article)

       "How we done good" reports

         Single models without analysis


             Inferences and opinions


Peer Review

             Said of a scholarly journal that requires an article to be subjected to a process of critical evaluation by one or more experts on the subject, known as referees, responsible for determining if the subject of the article falls within the scope of the publication and for evaluating originality, quality of research, clarity of presentation, etc. Changes may be suggested to the author(s) before an article is finally accepted for publication. In evaluation for tenure and promotion, academic librarians may be given publishing credit only for articles accepted by peer-reviewed journals. Some bibliographic databases allow search results to be limited to peer-reviewed journals. Synonymous with juried and refereed.

Definition from:

How to Tell if a Journal Is Peer Reviewed

If you know the title of a particular journal, there are several ways to discover if it's peer-reviewed.

1.  Find the website maintained by the journal's publisher.  The description of the journal usually mentions peer review if appropriate.  Or read the instructions for potential authors, which may spell out the review process.

2.  Search the Ulrich International Periodicals Directory.  Peer-reviewed journals display an icon that resembles a sports referee's shirt  Thumbnail

3. Search the Library and Information Science Source (LISS) database. The information pages for individual journals say whether or not they are peer-reviewed.