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Could this be outdated?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