Evaluating Search Results
For each of the items that appears in your search results, brief information about the source will be presented, including an abstract/summary, title, author, date of publication, etc. Consider the following to help you decide which items to review in more detail:
- Relevance: look at the title of the source. Does it appear to be on topic?
- Format: is the source in the format you need? Is it a book? A scholarly or peer-reviewed article? Many databases provide options that allow you to limit to a particular format.
- Year of publication: what is the date of publication? Is it important to have the most current information? Do you need information from a particular historical period? Many databases provide the option to sort your results by date or to limit results to particular years.
If you are unsure about what formats are appropriate, see the Books, Journals & More module. To help you evaluate individual items you have considered in more detail, review the PARCA Test located under Resources. Click on the sections below for strategies to improve your search.
Too few or no results
Too many results
Results not on topic