ALI: Evaluating resources


"RADCAB" is a fun tool by Library Media Specialist Karen Christensson designed to help you decide whether or not a Web source (or any source) is a valid, useful research resource.  The acronmyn stands for different steps in evaluating a resource:

R is for Relevancy

A is for Appropriateness

D is for Detail

C is for Currency

A is for Authority

B is for Bias.

Click on the link above for more info and to download the RADCAB tipsheet!



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Answers to frequently asked questions can be found here: FAQ page.

Questions dealing with specific circulation concerns (e.g., renewals, fines) are best handled by the Doheny Library Circulation Desk: call (213) 740-2924 or email

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Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Periodicals

Published in an academic journal, described also as refereed or peer-reviewed Published in a popular, general interest, or news magazine
Author is expert on topic or scholar Author may be lay reporter
Specialized audience of peers or students Audience includes general public
Goal is to inform or present research Goal is often to entertain or persuade
Research-based Report events or findings of others
Includes sources: footnotes and bibliography Sources may not be cited formally
Vocabulary is complex and technical Vocabulary is familiar, non-technical
Graphics used to illustrate a point Graphics used for visual impact
Titles may include the words Journal, Review, or Annals; and/or refer to a field of study. Examples: Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Journal of Higher Education Titles often general, usually catchier. Examples: People Weekly, Newsweek
Published monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually Published weekly or monthly

Often your professor will tell you to choose only "scholarly", "refereed", or "peer-reviewed" article resources when you do research for a paper.  This table shows some key contrasts between scholarly and popular resources.  Many of the Libraries' article citation databases include an option to search only scholarly, but not all do, so this table should come in handy.

A Fun Video on Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals

(from the Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University; on YouTube)

Here is an Interesting Research Site -- What is Your Evaluation of It?