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Evaluating Sources: Home

A guide to evaluating information and resources found online and in print.


Selecting the best resources to support your research involves more than finding good content. There are several other factors you must also consider to make sure a source is reliable and appropriate for your needs.

This guide will explain the main criteria by which to evaluate resources and will help you look at potential sources more critically.  Although the focus here is on evaluating websites and news, these criteria can apply to journals, books, magazines, and other sources.

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Best Practices

There is a lot of useful information on online and in print. Some information comes from reliable sources, while other information does not. When deciding whether a resource is appropriate for academic research, evaluate it based on these qualities:

  • Authority: author's credentials included?
  • Timeliness: when was the information published and last updated?
  • Documentation: are references or bibliography included?
  • Purpose and Audience: does the info intend to inform, persuade, present opinions, report research, or sell a product?
  • Review Process: was there a review process?
  • Suitability: does the source contain what you need? Do you understand the language that's used?

For more information, see the Criteria tab on the Evaluating Sources guide.

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