To identify criteria for the evaluation of source material.

In source-based writing, the quality of your work is only as good as the quality of your sources. When beginning a project it is vital that you establish a set of critera or guidelines for determining which documents you will use as sources and which documents you will disregard.

Criteria are the rules you use to select books, articles, web sites, or any other source material for your research project. Criteria should help you identify the subject matter and its validity. In the long-run, factors such as availability and ease of use will determine whether or not you use particular sources, but these are secondary issues. Never accept or reject an item at first glance simply because it is or isn't available in fulltext. Selecting an article only for its fulltext availability is like choosing a book because its cover is blue. Neither criteria says anything about the content of the document.

So what criteria will help you select documents based on content? Here's a suggested list:

The following pages of this lesson discuss each of these criteria, providing examples of how to use them to identify the best sources for your project