Source Evaluation is the process of critically examining information to determine if it is appropriate for inclusion in academic work.
When evaluating articles, most can be categorized as one of three types of styles based on the intention, scope, and level of expertise of the writing:
When evaluating sources, we should ask questions to help us determine if a resource is of a higher quality suited for academic writing:
Many databases used in the study of theology (Atla Religion Database with AtlaSerials PLUS, New Testament Abstracts, Old Testament Abstracts, Philosopher's Index with Full Text) are on the EBSCOhost platform. To limit your search to peer-reviewed articles, select the "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" check box in the left column on the search results page.
Not all academic journals are peer-reviewed (an example of such a journal is the Josephinum Journal of Theology). To assess whether a journal is of good scholarly quality, you can check how it has been registered in the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, which is a publication that has been in existence since 1932 and provides helpful profiles on over 300,000 serial publications from around the world.
To check a publication's profile:
Popular theological resources often can have informative content, and can serve as primary sources, providing immediate, first-hand accounts of an event or a condition that you want to research. However, they are not regarded as academic, and should not cited as a scholarly source in a research paper.
Academic/scholarly theological publications are suitable for research papers, as they contain content written by scholars for the intention of furthering research in a given area. The publications may be peer-reviewed or not.
Peer-reviewed theological publications are academic, and the products of a peer-review process that involves the evaluation and approval of publication by other experts in the field. They are suitable for use as sources in research papers.