I believe the following information was adapted by Dr. Joelle Elicker, but the link was provided to the original source material* from which it was adapted.

How Do I Evaluate Sources?

Use the information below to judge whether the information you find from each source is credible and has validity. In other words, is it trustworthy?

How do I…? Evaluate sources

To evaluate sources such as articles, websites, or books, you will want to evaluate the credibility of the author and the validity of the information.

Credibility of the Author

The first step in evaluating a source is determining the authority of the author who produced the material. To determine authority, you’ll want to evaluate the trustworthiness (credentials, education, experience, etc.) of an author.

To determine credibility, ask these questions:

  • Is the author formally educated in the subject?
  • Does the author work for a university or research center?
  • Is the author a recognized scholar in the subject?
  • Does the author have an established history of research and writing on the subject?

Validity of the Research or Information

The second step of evaluating a source is determining the validity of the research being presented in the article, website or book. To ensure that the research is valid, you want to determine the quality of the research used to support the argument being made. It is also important to remember that excellent or persuasive writing doesn’t necessarily ensure that the research presented is valid.

To determine the validity of the research in the source, ask these questions:

  • Does the author thoroughly cite all the sources? (Saying “a study was done” is not a citation.)
  • Is there a list of sources at the end of the article?
  • Does the author’s evidence support the claim?
  • Is the author’s evidence objective research instead of personal narrative?
  • Does it come from a peer-reviewed publication (which means the research was evaluated by experts before it was published)?

*which is no longer existent and won’t be replaced according to the University from which it was taken. I will find a new source and update this student resource.