Evaluating Sources Tips

Use these tips to determine if a source is reliable and useful for your research.

RELEVANCE: What is it about?

  • Examine title, abstract, introduction, and subject headings for connections to your research.

AUTHORITY: Who created it?

  • Research the reputation of the website, magazine, journal, or publisher.
  • Locate and verify author credentials and affiliation(s).
  • Identify parent organizations and funding sources.

ACCURACY: Is it credible?

  • Investigate whether conclusions are well-reasoned and supported with evidence.
  • Verify information with another reputable source.

PURPOSE: Why was it written?

  • Identify the intention of the source (to inform, persuade, etc.) to help detect potential bias.
  • Identify intended audience (scholars, public, professionals).
  • Inspect for author bias (e.g., omitting important information).

TIMELINESS: When was it created?

  • Identify both when the research was conducted and the date of publication.
  • Decide whether dates affect usefulness for your research.