Evaluating Resources: Workshop

Learning Objectives

  • This session will equip you with tools that will help you to critically analyze a variety of resources.
  • By the end of the class you will use the ACCORD Information Evaluation tool to select resources for an assignment based on your information need and context.
  • By the end of the class you will be able to summarize and explain whether a resource can be used to fulfill the assignment criteria.

Workshop Description

Students receive an evaluating sources handout (ACCORD: Information Evaluation) which is reviewed to introduce the topic.  They work on a sample assignment using a variety of potential sources.  In groups of 2-4, they evaluate the sources using the ACCORD rubric.  Each group reports their findings to the class, providing a brief description of each resource and how it fits with their assignment requirements.

Using the ACCORD Rubric

You’re writing a paper for a class.  You need sources.   How do you know which ones are the best?  In evaluating a source, you should keep in mind the context in which you will use it. Most sources are not inherently good or bad, but some are more appropriate than others in a given context. 

The Library's Guide on Evaluating Resources  explains the ACCORD rubric, developed by Ithaca College Librarians, that we will use in this session.

Briefly ACCORD means:

Agenda - Why was this information made available?
Credentials - Is the author of the source credible?
Citations - Does the author cite sources?
Oversight - Has the information been reviewed or refereed? 
Relevance - Does the source fit your needs?
Date - When was the information published/updated?

The Assignment

You’re are working on a research paper that examines the benefits of a paleolithic (high protein, grain-free) diet in terms of cardiac health. The paper should cite at least five scholarly, peer-reviewed sources.  Review the potential sources listed below using the ACCORD method.


1.  Educational video game( n.d.) In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 20, 2017, Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_video_game

2.  Kovess-Masfety, V., Keyes, K., Hamilton, A., Hanson, G., Bitfoi, A., Golitz, D., … Pez, O. (2016). Is time spent playing video games associated with mental health, cognitive and social skills in young children? Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51(3), 349–357. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-016-1179-6

3. Prensky, M. (2006).  "Don't bother me Mom, I'm learning!" : how computer and video games are preparing your kids for twenty-first century success and how you can help! ,  St. Paul, MN: Paragon house.

4. Katayama, D (2014, Aug. 3).  "In Louisville, Ky., Minecraft Teaches Math." In G. Dixon (Producer), All Things Considered, Washington, DC: National Public Radio. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2014/08/03/337602092/in-louisville-ky-minecraft-teaches-math

5.  Janssen, A., Shaw, T., & Goodyear, P. (2015). Using Video Games to Enhance Motivation States in Online Education: Protocol for a Team-Based Digital Game. JMIR Research Protocols, 4(3), e114. http://doi.org/10.2196/resprot.4016

6. Rehm, D. (2015, June 23). "How Digital Games Can Help Kids Learn."  Podcast https://dianerehm.org/shows/2015-06-23/how-digital-games-can-help-kids-learn

7. Toppo, G. (2015).  The game believes in you : how digital play can make our kids smarter New York, NY: Macmillan.

8. Hirumi, A. (Ed.). (2010). 
 Playing Games in School Video Games and Simulations for Primary and Secondary Grades  International Society for Technology in Education.

9. Imagine Learning (2016, August 1). Don't have time to evaluate educational games? Just do it. [Twitter Moment]. Retreived from https://twitter.com/ImagineLearning/status/766435840759369728

10. Taylor, R. (2012, September 25). Can video games help your kids?  [Web Log]. Retrieved from  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rich-taylor/video-games-help-kids_b_1914848.html

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Scholarly Journals


"Scholarly" or "peer reviewed" journals disseminate new findings, the results of studies, theories, etc.   They are written and edited by professors and researchers. Prior to publication, articles are reviewed by other researchers in the field of interest, hence the name "peer reviewed."

Appearance & Format

  • Plain covers that vary little from issue to issue
  • "Journal," "Transactions," "Proceedings," or "Quarterly" commonly appear in title
  • Articles include sections such as: abstract, keywords, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion
  • Articles may have charts or graphs
  • Advertising limited to scholarly books and meetings
  • Pages numbered consecutively throughout a volume (rather than starting at "1" with each issue)

Frequency of Publication

  • Monthly or quarterly

Authors & Editors

  • Authors and editors are scholars writing about their own research. They are usually affiliated with a college, university, or research institue and that affiliation is stated
  • Articles are reviewed by a board of experts ("peer reviewed")

Readership & Language

  • Aimed at practitioners in a particular field of study
  • Language uses the terminology of the field


  • Sources are always cited using footnotes or parenthetical references
  • Includes "Works cited" section at end of the article

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