Evaluate Your Sources

Consider these criteria (with guiding questions below) when evaluating your sources:

  • Accuracy
    • Are there noticeable errors?
    • Is data clearly labeled?
    • If information is provided from other sources, are those sources cited so that you could look for them?
    • If the author makes conclusions, are they based on evidence?  
  • Authority
    • Can you identify the author?
    • Are their levels of education, experience or expertise clearly presented?
    • How was the information obtained? Is it based on experience and observation, opinion, or research?   
  • Coverage
    • Who is the intended audience?
    • How can you tell?
    • How does that influence this source?
    • Is this source comprehensive? If not, what information does it lack?
    • Is there supporting evidence provided, such as charts, maps, graphs, photos, documents? Would this be a better source if there were?
  • Currency
    • Can you determine how old (or new) the information is?
    • Does the age of the information affect its usefulness?
    • Is there a difference between the age of your source and the age of the information your source contains?   
  • Objectivity
    • Why was this information produced? Is there a "hidden agenda" or motive?
    • Does the author deal with both positive and negative evidence? Do they seriously consider more than one side of an issue?
    • Does the author justify their conclusions or ask you to accept them on faith?

If you need help, Ask a Librarian!

Last updated by andjsmit on 02/06/2009