〈一〉 學術性：會以註腳、參考書目註明原始資料出處。由專家學者或對此有研究的人來撰寫。目的是報告原創的研究或實驗。例子：American Economic Review（美國經濟評論）等。
〈二〉 新聞性或資訊性：以營利為目的。內容有許多插圖、相片，多引用自原始資料、學者等。例子：The Economist（經濟學人）。
When doing research, it is important to check the reliability and relevancy of the information found in reference books, journal articles, research papers, or online resources.
1. Preliminary Assessment
(1) Author: What is the author’s academic credentials? What is the citation rate of his/her works?
(2) Publication date: For subjects such as natural science and applied science, it is important to use data that is up-to-date.
(3) Edition: If a print resource has several editions, it indicates that the information has been updated and is reliable.
(4) Publisher: Was the material published by a university or an established publishing house?
2. Content Analysis
(1) The purpose and scope of the work: Read the summary (book) or abstract (journal article). Browse the table of contents and the index to understand the subject area, and check to see the references cited in the bibliography.
(2) Intended audience: Who is the intended audience? Is the information presented by the material too basic, too specialized, too advanced, or just right? Does it meet your need?
(3) Thinking objectively: Do the contents of the selected work hold enough usable information?
(4) Format: How is the information presented? Are the main points stated clearly and understandably?
3. Reviews (Books)
Look up the reviews for your selected book in journals or websites (example: The Booklist). Has it been cited as a valuable resource in the relevant subject? Are there conflicting opinions from different reviews? Take into consideration as many reviews as possible.
4. Assessing Online Resources
(1) Website structure: What is the intent of this site? Is it promotional or informative? Is the data first-hand information, opinion-based, or propaganda?
(2) Site Management: Why was the site created? Is contact information available? Are there any references? Are there any spelling and/or grammatical errors?
(3) Reliability: It is important to check the credibility of a website, particularly if it will be recommended for others’ use.
(4) Updates and Maintenance: When was the site last updated or edited? Is it updated regularly? Do its outgoing links work?
(5) Scope of Information: Is relevant information included or omitted? Is the website complete or in construction?
For more references. see the University of California Berkeley's guide.
5. Differentiating between academic journals and non-academic journals
Journals and magazines often publish the most current information on a variety of subjects. They can be classified as academic or scholarly journals, news magazines, or popular magazines.
(1) Academic/Scholarly Journals: The articles have footnotes, and/or a bibliography of source materials. Written by experts, scholars, and researchers in the field, these journals present the findings of original research and results of experiments. Examples: American Economic Review
(2) News Magazines: These often include illustrations and photos with articles. The content tends to be opinion-based, with quotes from academics. News magazines can be published by for-profit enterprises, publishing houses, or privately. Example: The Economist
(3) Popular magazines: The covers of these magazines are designed to attract readers’ attention. The articles often use information from secondary sources rather than primary sources, and are written by company employees or freelance writers. The purpose of these magazines is to entertain readers, sell products, or promote a certain viewpoint. Example: Time Magazine