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Data Science

Evaluating Information

There are several ways to evaluate the research and information you come across as you determine what kind of information is best for whatever your project may be.

Types of Scientific Literature

When conducting research, you should be aware that not all scientific articles are the same. Here are some key features of the different types of writing you may come across in your searching:

Peer-Reviewed (Scholarly) Articles

  • Original research written by scholars/researchers, often for a university or laboratory
  • Include an abstract and a bibliography
  • Use discipline-specific language

Abstract, Conference Publication/Presentation, Dissertation Proposal

  • Written by graduate students or content area specialists
  • Provide brief descriptions of original research; may not be published (or compete)
  • Useful when looking for recent research in the scientific community

Review Articles

  • Overview of a field or subject; often synthesize previous research in that field
  • Useful when conducting background research or a literature review (or finding additional references)

Clinical Trials/Clinical Study

  • Individual or group study on patients at a clinical or medical practice
  • Summarize the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of a disease or ailment.


  • Procedure for combining data from multiple studies; if treatment effect (or effect size) is consistent across several studies a meta-analysis can be conducted
  • No new experimentation is completed; data is combined from several trials to see if any patterns emerge
  • Commonly done in the medical field

Popular/News Articles

  • Written by journalists or write who may not have content area expertise
  • Rarely have an abstract or bibliography
  • Use language for a general audience

Perspective/Opinion Article

Book Review


Using the CRAAP Method to Evaluate Information

The CRAAP method guides you in evaluating your sources according to 5 different criteria: CURRENCY, RELEVANCY, AUTHORITY, ACCURACY, and PURPOSE. Outlined below are the criteria; these can guide you in writing the annotations for your annotated bibliography.