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High School Classes

This guide is created for classes who are attending library instruction sessions at the University of Calgary

Start with the abstract

The abstract summarizes the major parts of the article in a paragraph. Before you dive into reading a long and dense scholarly paper, read this to find out whether the article is relevant.

The subject terms (sometimes called subject headings) indicate the major focuses of the article. They can help you be more specfic about your search. For example, are you interested in Hamlet the character or Hamlet the play? The subject terms tell you how the database makes the distinction. 

How do I know if this is a "good" article?

Here is a general method for evaluating your source:

Currency - How long ago was this information written? Are you researching in a subject area where it is important for you to have the most up-to-date information?

Reliability - Can you rely on the information in this source? Consider where you found it and what sources it cites (or doesn't cite).

Authority - Who wrote it?

Purpose - Why did they write it?

In addition to these criteria, you should also think about how the information fits into your topic. What does it add to your discussion?