Texts can be used to gather information for your writing and also in your writing. When used for your writing, they can be used to find information, give inspiration, give an overview of the topic or provide models for working. When used in your writing, they can support your claims, be used for analysis, and provide discussion (Rienecker and Jorgensen, 2013).
There is a generally accepted ranking of texts according to academic trustworthiness, going from most trustworthy to least trustworthy:
- peer reviewed books and articles e.g. journal articles
- other academic texts e.g. theses, textbooks
- popular articles e.g. Scientific American
- ”Everyday” texts e.g. newspapers, magazines, websites
Why is a journal article i.e. peer reviewed text considered most trustworthy?
- it has been written by an expert (s) in the field
- it has been through a process i.e. read, revised and approved of by other experts in the field
- it is based on research and other articles that are also often peer reviewed
In evaluating a source, consider the following questions:
- who is / are the authors? Are they experts in the field?
- where is it published?
- is there a reference list? What kinds of references are in it?
- is the information still valid and applicable today?
- has the article been cited by others (you can see this in Google scholar for example).
Where can I find journal articles?
- Chalmers library: either use a search term on the front page or look in the library’s databases. Within the Chalmers network, you have access to many articles that you would have to pay for otherwise.
- Google scholar: just like regular Google except that when you search, the results will be peer reviewed texts. It is also possible to get the numbers of citations and generate a full reference.