Most students evaluate for availability and they aren't even aware they are doing it. When using online databases many students skip over results when the full text is not readily available or skip over a book if it's not currently available in the library's stacks. Make sure you're evaluating your sources using the other criteria to make sure you're including the most valuable sources in your project.
- Is the source I'm considering for my research available for me to use immediately, or do I need to wait or track it down in some way?
- How long will it take to track down the item and do I have time to wait?
This is the one evaluation criteria that really comes into play if you wait until the last minute to track down your sources. For best results, begin your research early so that this evaluation criteria does not become a deal-breaker and force you to use sources that are not as valuable, other than being available at the last minute.
- Start your research early to have the best selection of sources, regardless of current availability.
- Create a timeline for tracking down sources. If the source you're waiting for doesn't show up in time, have a back-up plan.
- Can you get an extension on the project?
- Is there another way you can get the source? (For example, if you're waiting on a book to arrive through OhioLINK, is there another copy in OhioLINK that you can drive to access in a pinch?)
- Is the source you're waiting on available in another format that you can access more quickly? (For example, is all or part of a book you're waiting for available in Google Books?)