The relevancy of a cited source relates to how well the source you have selected meets your information need.
Relevancy, when applied to quoted or paraphrased text, means that the point you are trying to make within the context of your text is directly supported by the text you have chosen to quote or paraphrase.
Judging the relevancy of a source can be trickier than you might think. If the source you desire to cite is very broad in its scope, ask yourself if the conclusions drawn in the article can be easily applied to your thesis statement. For example, a journal article concerning the frequency of cigarette smoking among men between the ages of 18 and 24 in the United States could apply to a paper about the percentage of young men on your college campus who smoke. On the other hand, articles that are very narrow in scope could be relevant if you are able to generalize its conclusions and apply them to your research topic. For example, a journal article about the effects that violent video games have on the ability of seven-year-old males to form healthy peer relationships with female students at school could be applied to a research paper about the generalized effects of playing violent video games on children.
There are other questions you should ask yourself when considering the relevancy of a potential source. These include:
- Who is the intended audience of the source? Is it too technical for you or your reader to understand?
- Have you looked at a variety of sources before selecting the one you’re considering? Have you distinguished between popular vs. scholarly sources
- Does the source support your thesis statemennt/research question/ title?