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ED 6890: Organizing & Evaluating Sources

Organizing Sources for a Literature Review

"Organization is essential as you work from start to finish of your [research] project. Good organization will allow you to see where you have been and help you to see how to proceed.

  • Staying organized throughout your research will help you to avoid repeating ineffective searches.
  • When it comes to writing your literature review, staying organized will provide you a concise overview of the research you have located, and help you group thoughts and ideas.
  • As you write your literature review section you may* need to explain to your readers how you conducted your research.
    • This explanation does not need to be lengthy but you will need to share with your readers the databases and keywords that you used to find your research articles. This information can help future researchers pick up where your research left off."

- Walden University Library, Library Guide to Capstone Literature Reviews: Get & Stay Organized

*Make sure to review your assignment requirements


Use the following organizational tools to help you throughout the literature search process. When you read articles, it's helpful to think about them in the context of your research question, theory, and hypothesis. These documents allow you to compile details about your sources, such as citation information, purpose, methodologies, implications, and critiques. The documents can also help with identifying similarities and themes between articles and authors.

Identifying Themes and Gaps in Literature - Scribbr

"Finding connections between sources is key to organizing the arguments and structure of a good literature review. In this video, you'll learn how to identify themes, debates, and gaps between sources, using examples from real papers" - YouTube video description

Identifying Quality Information

People write for many different reasons - to inform, entertain, persuade, mislead, satirize, describe, etc. and the quality of the information can depend on the reason it was written or shared. Information changes as new facts, data, and knowledge comes to light. In an academic assignment, it is important to use information that is reliable, accurate, objective, and up-to-date. You will need to evaluate each source you locate, to determine if it is something that will support or contradict your thesis and/or topic. You will look at more sources than you need, and that is okay, and encouraged! The more sources you read, the more informed you are about the topic and can pick the best resources for your assignment.

Below is a list of videos, eBooks, and websites that can help you evaluate information and sources.

Study Help: Evaluating Information - University of South Australia

People write for many different reasons - to inform, entertain, persuade, mislead, satirize, describe, etc. and the quality of the information can depend on the reason it was written or shared. Information changes as new facts, data, and knowledge comes to light. In an academic assignment, it is important to use information that is reliable, accurate, objective, and up-to-date. You will need to evaluate each source you locate, to determine if it is something that will support or contradict your thesis and/or topic. You will look at more sources than you need, and that is okay, and encouraged! The more sources you read, the more informed you are about the topic and can pick the best resources for your assignment. 

The video below, created and produced by the University of South Australia Librarians, provides tips on evaluating information using the C.R.A.A.P. test.

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