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Assessing relevance

You will need to refer to different types of sources depending on the nature of your research questions. Source evaluation involves assessing a source’s value for the purposes of addressing these questions. You have to consider whether the source’s contents are relevant to what you are actually looking for, in addition to performing a qualitative evaluation. In what context will you be using the source? Does the source relate to the topic of your thesis?

Ask the following questions about the source you have in front of you:

  • Does the source deal with the topics you are interested in?
  • How might the source help answer your questions?

Consider whether the source is relevant to your research questions.
Look at the source’s:

  • Summary
  • Table of contents
  • Illustrations
  • Conclusions
  • List of references

Also examine the source by textual analysis to see whether the author’s rhetoric affects the content of the source.

Compare the source with similar sources to understand what aspects of the project the source does or does not cover.

Last updated: April 11, 2013

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