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Q. How do I evaluate my sources?

Answered By: Pollak Library
Last Updated: Nov 05, 2018     Views: 2125

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?

Accuracy and Quality of Content

  • 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?

Additional Method for Evaluating Sources

  • CRAAP Test, which looks at Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose

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Last Published 1/30/19

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