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History of Science, Technology, and Medicine: Evaluating Resources

General guide to Duke library resources in science, technology and medicine.


Review the information sources to the right and answer the following questions:

  • What type of information source is this?  Is it news, scholarly, professional, opinion, etc.?
  • What can you tell about the author's credentials?
  • Is it a primary or secondary source?
  • Why was this source published? What is its purpose? Who is its audience?
  • What clues help you evaluate these sources?


Information Sources

  • Report of scientific discoveries
  • Proceedings of conferences and meetings
  • Results of clinical trials
  • Autobiography
  • Analyzes and interprets research results
  • Published results of research studies
  • Published results of scientific experiments
  • Published results of clinical trials
  • Review of the results of several experiments or trials
  • Publications about the significance of research or experiments
  • Analysis of a clinical trial
  • Analyzes and interprets scientific discoveries
  • Results of experiments
  • Biography



Thinking about Sources

Evaluating sources is  important, and it is an art—much of the work is deciding: you have to decide where to search, what to watch out for, and what to accept as evidence. Too much information, or too little, can be devastating to your argument. Be prepared to refine your sources and to compare sources to each other as you write.