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JUST 200: Introduction to Research Methods

This course guide provides information and resources to support Justice 200 research assignments.

Evaluating Sources

Evaluate Results Using Four Stages of Evaluation

Note: Evaluation of search results from a library database is a process that involves using evaluation criteria.  Think about inclusion and exclusion criteria as tools you use to decide which resources to include (review for your research project) and which to exclude (ignore) when you are deciding which articles will be most useful for your research project. Evaluating resources is a process used in several phases of conducting a literature review (stages 1 & 2 in this handout):

1.       Deciding which effective searching tools to use from the handout and workshop

2.       Deciding which sources from the search results to save/email/print

3.       Deciding which sources to read from those you saved/emailed/printed 

4.       Deciding what information to include and which resources to cite in your paper/presentation/project


Stage 1 – Deciding Which Search Limiters or filters to employ (Use your Effective Searching Handout) – When we talk about evaluation criteria – objective criteria and some of limiters and filters.  But there are also subjective criteria that are critical (listed in Stage 2).

 Objective Criteria – Note that these are also Limiters/Filters for Effective Searching


Double blind – author and reviewer don’t know who each other are, review of quality of research and writing ensure quality publications and reduction of bias


 Do you need current or historical research

 United States focused

 Justice systems around the world are different – this course focuses on united states justice systems

 Primary Research

Confirm the article has a methods section – required for certain assignments and for this course

Stage 2 – Deciding which resources from the search results list to save/email/print

Note: You are not likely to find one single article or set of articles that completely cover all sub-parts of your research question.  You will need to fit together evidence and literature from several sources; this is the nature of research.

 Progression of Evaluation/Subjective Criteria

Title of Articles

Looking for relevance and key terms


Relevance and key terms

Review keywords/subject headings

Provided by database or authors

Then go into the article – looking at content


“word search”

Make sure there is enough content in article