Evaluating SourcesInformation is all around us. With the Internet and tools like Google, Wikipedia, and online library databases, finding sources to use in your assignments and papers is easy. Just like you evaluate a web page before you use it, evaluating sources is your job as a researcher. Using poor quality information to support your ideas hurts your ability to demonstrate your thinking and learning to your instructor, classmates, and the world. The more you evaluate your sources, the stronger your arguments will be for your assignments and papers.

Evaluation Criteria

There are criteria you can use to evaluate a source before you use it in your assignment/paper:
  • Timeliness refers to when the source was written or created. Ideas change over time and research builds on other research.
  • Perspective / Intent refers to the purpose of the information or why it was written.
  • Authority refers to the background and experience of the author or creator.

There are few rules for which sources are “best.” Instead, your assignment, topic, and specifically what you are thinking and writing about will influence which sources you select and how you use them. Previous Page          Next Page