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Evaluation of sources

Below are some questions that you can use to assess the credibility and usefulness of sources within the context you plan on using them.

Who is the author?

  • Is the author an expert within the field?
  • Is there a recognized authority or organization that provides the information?
  • Who is the provider of the information? Look for example at the URL.
  • Is there contact information

What does the material contain?

  • Does the source contain the information you are looking for?
  • Are the facts correct and the text written in an objective manner?
  • To what extent does the source cover the subject? How detailed is the subject described?
  • Is it a scholarly (scientific), trade/professional, popular or other kind of text?
  • Are there references to other sources? What kind of sources?

Who is the target group?

  • Is it researchers, the general public, students or another defined group?
  • In what way is the material relevant to your needs?

When was the material written?

  • When was the material published?
  • Is the material sufficiently current for your needs?

Why was the material published?

  • Does the author want to present research, inform, persuade, sell or entertain?

Videos on evaluation of sources

Critical reading
Primary vs. secondary sources

From Hartness Library.