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Evaluating Sources


  • Who wrote the information?

  • Are they an expert in the field they’re writing about?

  • Are they someone who might be biased?


  • When was it published?

  • How old is the information?

  • Could this be outdated? Know important dates related to your topic


  • Where was it published?

  • Does it appear in a scholarly journal?

  • Is the publisher or sponsor a reputable source?


  • What is the information really about?

  • What is the main argument?

  • Is the information relevant to your topic?


  • Why did they write this information?

  • Are they trying to persuade you of a point, sell you something, or present objective information? Watch for bias.

  • Who is the intended audience?


  • How did they get their information?

  • Do they cite their sources?

  • Are the sources they used credible?


These factors may not apply to every situation equally. For example: an older scholarly journal article may not be appropriate for a paper on current controversies, but it could be relevant to a historical approach to the topic.

Use your best judgment, and ask a librarian if you’re not sure about a source.



                                                                                                                             Updated April 2018                                                 

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