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Library Research: Evaluating your sources

Criteria

Source:

  • Who is the author?
  • Who is making the information available?
  • What are their credentials or qualifications?
  • What makes them an authority on this subject?
  • Is the source biased or expressing opinion or trying to sell something?
  • Choose sources that are credible and relatively objective.

Timeliness:

  • When was the information published or last updated?
  • Does the date of publication matter to your assignment?
  • For example, if you are working on a current event, or a science or health topic, you will need something that has been published recently.
  • If you are working on a historical topic, currency may not be as important.

Accuracy:

  • Is the information free of spelling, grammatical and technical errors?
  • Where did the information come from?
  • Look for information or references that can be verified.

Relevance:

  • Does this information meet the requirements of your assignment?
  • How will it help answer the question you are asking?
  • Choose information that will help you build a strong argument, illuminate concepts, or provide the best evidence.