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Library Research @ Williamson Library: Evaluate Sources

Start your research, access library resources, and more.

Evaluate What You Find

  • Evaluate each source--print or media--for authority, accuracy, age, and relevancy.
  • General Questions to Ask:
    • Is the source intended for academic research?
    • Does it lack advertising or clearly separates advertising from information?
    • Does it inform--as opposed to persuade, advocate, entertain, or sell?
    • Does the author have expert credentials and contact information?
    • Is the author affiliated with an educational institution or nonprofit organization?
    • If it is a Web site, does it have one of the following preferred domains:  .edu, .gov, or. org?
    • Is the source well-researched?
    • Does the source have references?
    • Is the source well-written and grammatically correct?
    • Does the source provide a creation date? (Depending on the discipline, look for sources written within the last five years.)
    • Has the Web site been recently updated?
    • Does the Web site lack dead links?
    • Is the Web site easy to navigate, and does it have a search box?
Adapted from:  Teaching Information Literacy:  50 Standards-Based Exercises for College Students
                           (Joanna M. Burkhardt, American Library Association, 2010)