How do I evaluate my sources?
Not all information is equally valuable. Any information should be carefully examined to determine its usefulness and quality.
1. Evaluating Web Sites
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the author an authority or expert on the subject?
- What is the author's agenda? Are they trying to sell an idea or product?
- Do they use evidence to support fact claims, ideas, or opinions?
- Is the information current?
2. Evaluating Articles and Books
- What are the author's credentials, educational background, experience, past writings?
- Is the author's name cited in other sources or bibliographies? Respected authors are cited frequently by other scholars.
Date of Publication
- Is currency important to your research?
- If so, when was the source published?
- Topics in the sciences and business often demand current information. Topics in the humanities may require older material.
- Is the information supported by facts and evidence, or is it someone's opinion?
- Can the information be verified by other sources?
- How does the information compare with other sources?
- If it is a book, what do book reviewers have to say?