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CURR 5400: Reading and Writing in the Content Areas: Evaluating and Citing Sources

Library guide for CURR 5400.

What is APA?

APA style is the official format for the American Psychological Association and is used widely throughout the social sciences.

Any class you take from the UCCS College of Education will require APA style citation.

If you are taking courses from other colleges, you may be using styles such as MLA, the Chicago Manual of Style, or Turabian. Courses in the sciences will have a wide range of styles as well, so please check with your instructors in other colleges.

The library has many style guides available in print or online. Check our catalog for call numbers and locations.

Help From the Writing Center

UCCS Writing Center

Excel Centers: The Centers for Excellence

The Writing Center consultants will help with formatting and citing sources according to APA, MLA, and Chicago style rules online or in person. Check their website for hours and other services.

Keeping Track of Citations

Try using a citation manager such as Zotero (free), EndNote Web (free for UCCS), Mendeley (free),  EndNote or RefWorks

From most of our databases, you can export your citation directly into the software then organize the citations by project.


What is peer-review?

Content in peer-reviewed or refereed journals has undergone a process by which it is reviewed by experts in the discussed subject matter. The identifying information (such as author name and institutional affiliation) has often been removed during the review, resulting in an unbiased "blind" process. 

Double Blind means the reviewer does not know who the author is, and the author does not know who has reviewed his or her paper.

How do you find peer-reviewed articles?

In many databases, such as ERIC, you can narrow to peer-reviewed or scholarly articles from the advanced search screen, or from the results list.

What is a Scholarly Journal Article?

If your professor told you to use scholarly, or peer-reviewed, sources for your assignment, you need to find an article published in a peer-reviewed journal. Use a library search tools to locate articles, then check them for the following features:

checkmarkIs this an article that was published in a journal? (Hint: Look near the bottom or top of the page for a journal name, volume number, issue number, year and page numbers.)

Does the article tell you where the author works (and maybe their contact details)? (Hint: Look for footnotes by the author's name.)

Is there an abstract at the beginning of the article? (A summary of the article, written by the authors.)

Does the article end with a bibliography or list of works cited? (There could also be extensive footnotes.)

Is the language in the article more technical than a typical magazine or newspaper?

Does the article's formatting look really boring? (No advertisements or glossy color pictures.)

If you answered YES to most of these questions, the article you're looking at is probably scholarly!

Evaluating Sources

How do I know if my source is a good source?

  1. Authority: Who is the author? What are credentials?
  2. Objectivity: Why was this article written? Is it scholarly? Persuasive?
  3. Currency: When was it written? Is it relevant today?
  4. Coverage: How in-depth is this material?

What is the difference between a primary source and a secondary source?

Primary Source: A document, speech, or other evidence written, created or otherwise produced during the time under study.

(Original publications, journals, letters, conference papers  and proceedings, field notes, autobiographies, film footage, dissertations, studies, art, data, photographs, technical reports, patents) 

Secondary Source: A restatement or analysis of a primary source, written after the fact.

(Critiques, summaries, reviews, textbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographies, bibliographies, indexes, abstracts, handbooks)