ES 201 Environmental Problems

Evaluating Your Sources: Academic / Grey / Popular

First Step - Identify and Evaluate the Information

What is "it" - book, periodical article, reference source, newspaper, blog, wiki, "gray literature", masters thesis, correspondence, statistics, etc

Scholarly vs Popular
  - How many times cited?
  - Journal Ranking

Primary vs Secondary

Grey Literature:  The Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature (GL '99) in Washington, DC, in October 1999 defined grey literature as follows: "That which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers."
 ---Definition (Links to an external site.) 

Types of Grey Literature

 Types Finding Tools 
 Government Documents (Links to an external site.) Google / Google Books
 Conference Proceedings   Scopus (Links to an external site.) /  Google Books (Links to an external site.) 
 Dissertations   Dissertations & Theses (Links to an external site.) 
 Eric Documents   ERIC Database (Links to an external site.) 
 Other - white papers, NGO reports,  
 policy briefs, colleges, archives,
 World Bank, UN, .....
  CIAO (Links to an external site.) / Google / WorldCat


* A good way to find grey literature is to look over the works cited list from a scholarly journal article or book.  A good researcher will have cited them and they are available to you.

Second Step -   Evaluate your source by the relevant critereia below.  A book source will be evaluated differently than a journal article for example.




 My Topic: Wastewater treatment and wetlands in Nigeria

In-class evaluation of sources for my annotated bibliography








  • Research - use the library subject guides and individual databases to research your topic:



Google Scholar

Google Books

Also - when you find a good source, use the sources in that papers works cited list for your bibliography
  - See Journal Finder

  Reading/Evaluating a Science Research Article 

Medalie, L., Hirsch, R. M., & Archfield, S. A. (2012). Use of flow-normalization to evaluate nutrient concentration and flux changes in Lake Champlain tributaries, 1990–2009. Journal Of Great Lakes Research, 38(Supplement 1), 58-67. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2011.10.002



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