Relevance

Relevance is important because you are expected to support your ideas with pertinent information.

You and your instructor are the best people to determine if a source is appropriate for your research. Remember that all sources you use should contain well-supported arguments and valid research.

A source detailing Einstein's marriage and family life would not be germane to his theories in physics.

How do you know if your source is relevant?

  • Does the information answer your research question?

  • Does the information meet the stated requirements of the assignment?

  • Is the information too technical or too simplified for you to use?

  • Does the source add something new to your knowledge of your topic?

Look for:

  • Look at the preface of author's notes for information about the book's purpose. For web sites look at About Us/Mission links, content, and advertising.

  • Judge whether the source is scholarly or popular. Make sure that you are using the appropriate type of source for your assignment.

  • Look for a bibliography or works cited list. Use the bibliography at the end of the source to find other related works.

  • Look at the abstract, table of contents, introduction, and index to help determine its relevance.

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