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How does this particular source answer my specific research questions? Where does it fit logically into my outline?
Does this source cover a lot of territory (comprehensive coverage) or does it fit in nicely with a specific point in my outline? What parts of my research needs aren't being met by this source? What else do I need to discover?
What time period does the source cover? Does it need to be supplemented with more historical or more recent information?
What is the geographic coverage of the source? Look to see where it was published and if the source offers a local, regional, national, or international coverage of your topic.
What makes this source special or unique? How is information presented in this source better than information provided in other sources?
Is the source written at an appropriate academic level? Is it written in English?
Locate reviews of the book. A well-written review will discuss the focus of the book.
Does the book offer comprehensive or selective coverage of the topic? Is the coverage historical or current, or both?
Do you have the actual book in front of you?
Examine the table of contents: Is there are entire chapter or section on your topic?
Examine the book’s index to find relevant passages that reflect your research question.
In the library catalog make sure you're looking at the full description. A summary or table of contents for the book may be available.
In the UA Libraries Catalog look for an image of the book's cover. Click on the image to see if additional summary, review, or table of contents is included.
On a website (especially bookstore websites) there may be a "look inside" feature that allows you to view some of the content online. The site may provide a table of contents, index, or portions of the book to help you judge relevance to your topic.
For periodical articles:
Is there an abstract? Read this summary to determine if the article will add value to your research.
No abstract? Skim the article looking for relevant keywords.
What is the focus of the article? Does it cover the topic adequately or do you need additional resources to fill in the gaps?
What is the focus of the website? Does it offer information not available in other, more reliable resources, or does it simply repeat information available in more reliable resources?
How deep are you in the website? If you explore other portions of the website, are there other pages that offer relevant information?
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