xCHANGE: Evaluating Research

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It is important to take a close, critical look at research on sexual violence. The following resources provide some general information and tips evaluating sources and research in general.

General Guidelines

Distinguishing Scholarly From Non-Scholarly Periodicals: A Checklist of Criteria
Cornell University Library (2005)

This resource aims to guide the reader in distinguishing between the various levels of scholarship found in periodicals.

How to Evaluate Journal Articles
by Colorado State University Libraries (2006)

This resource provides information for the reader on what to look for when evaluating a journal article.

Evaluating Research Quality
Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (2005)

This paper discusses the importance of good research, discusses common causes of biases, provides guidelines for evaluating research and data quality, and describes examples of bad research.

Tools for advocates

Understanding scientific journal articles: Tips for advocates and practitioners
Center for Research on Violence Against Women, University of Kentucky (2004)

This guide provides a layman's introduction to scientific journal articles, with information on article layout, content, and the review process.

Interpreting Research Studies
Guttmacher Institute (2006)

This document is intended to help demystify social science research for those who could make use of the findings but lack specialized training in research methods.

Evaluating Violence Against Women Research Reports
Sandra K. Beeman, VAWnet: The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (2002)

This document provides introductory guidelines for the use and evaluation of research reports. It helps advocates to answer these questions:

  • What are the different forms of research reports and where can they be found?
  • Can we believe what we read? How can a non-researcher critically read and analyze research reports?
  • How can we judge the quality of research?
  • What can be done with the results of research?

Evaluating online sources

Assessing the Credibility of Online Sources
Judith Kilborn, St. Cloud State University (2005)

This resource offers criteria for assessing the credibility of online resources. The author provides a list of critical questions one should ask in the process of evaluating such resources.

Critical Evaluation of Resources
University of California (2007)

This resource offers useful information for those doing research online. It challenges the reader to evaluate the authority and appropriateness of the resource, whether it is a book, article, or website.