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ECON 437/537 - Behavioral Public Policy

Locating Books for a Literature Review

To locate book materials in the Mardigian Library Catalog start at the Mardigian Library Homepage.  Then locate the following link:

Conduct your desired searches. 

Evaluate the material with some of the criteria below.  Browse your selections.  The best way to actually determine if an item is useable is to locate it from the shelves so as to thumb through the item.  Also, while there you can browse the shelves around the item possibly finding related material. 

You can also extend your search to MeLCat on any search return page by linking to MeLCat




MeLCat is a statewide network of libraries that you can utilize.  The process for borrowing is outlined when you link into MeLCat and the best thing about this is the item is shipped to the Mardigian Library.  So, many more materials are available to you than just the materials in the Mardigian Library collection.

Professor Approved Criteria for Evaluating Books

The criteria for evaluating book materials is not drastically different than evaluating article materials so you will see criteria here that you may also see when you get to evaluating articles:

1.  The material should be from a credible or known or trusted publisher.

2.  The material should be authored by professionals, experts, and credentialed individuals.  Does the author work in the trade?  Does the author teach in the discipline?  Does the author hold a Ph.D.?

3.  The material should be researched and verifiable.  Does the material show evidence of research and include a bibliography of the author's research? If there is no depth of research can the material be checked for accuracy?  Does the author point to anything that can be checked?

4.  The material should be current.  Material considered to be current is less than five years old unless you are looking for things for an historical perspective.

5.  The material needs to be readable.  The language within the material cannot be too jargony.


Evaluating Resources with CRAAP

Additionally, to help you evaluate resources, a simple and fun mnemonic called CRAAP¹ can be used here to help guide you through the steps of evaluating resources that you find in the research process.  Before you can use any resources you need to determine several things first.  You need to determine its Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose, which is referred to, again, as the CRAAP model for evaluating resources.  Answering these specific questions will give you a clear indication of the scholarly value of the resource retrieved.

Quick Steps to Evaluating Resources

Step I. Applying CRAAP:


What is the date of the resource you found?  Is the information up-to-date or older?  Remember, you will often be working with a date range set by your professor.  At minimum make sure the resources you find are within that range.  Also, you may want the most recent material on a topic.  If that is the case then make sure the resources are within the last 5 years.   


What do the authors want you to know?  Are you the targeted audience?  What is the value of the resource in comparison to the range of information resources available on this topic?


Who is the author? What type of authority does this person have?  Do they have credentials to be speaking on the topic?  For instance, does the author have a degree in the area like a Ph.D. or are they a paid journalist writing about the topic?  Asking this will specifically speak to how knowledgeable one will be on a topic.  


Can the accuracy of the material be verified?  Is there documentation for the information provided in the form of a bibliography?  How complete is the material?  Are there gaps?  Was the material peer-reviewed?  Is the content biased or skewed?  Does the text follow basic rules of grammar, spelling, and literary composition?


Identify the type of resource it is.  Is it for the purposes of:

·         Entertainment

·         Business/Marketing

·         Reference/Information

·         News

·         Advocacy/Organizations

·         Personal Page

·         Government

You are not going to use resources entertainment purposes for a research assignment. 

Step II. Evaluate Your Answers

·         Were you able to answer all of the questions?

·         Do you still have unanswered questions such as bibliographic information or content issues?       

The resources that receive more favorable responses from you are more than likely a useful resource.  If you have any questions about the validity of a particular resource, please ask a librarian.


¹The CRAAP model was suggested to me by a colleague, Dr. Joy Beatty, and the CRAAP Test from the California State University, Chico was reworked to be applied exclusively to Internet materials for this guide.

Search Tips

Many of the same tips for locating materials in databases can be used when trying to locate materials in the Mardigian Library Catalog:

1.  Think positive.

2.  Simplify terminology.

3.  Understand the type of search you are conducting, i.e, is the search a keyword or subject search as this does matter.

4.  Browse return list to pinpoint key terminology and then incorporate that into new searches.

5.  Browse subject headings within records.

6.  Never give up.

7.  When in doubt consult a librarian.



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