Not all of the material you uncover during your research process with be useful for your particular project. It is important to evaluate the credibility of any source before you rely on the information for your own projects.
(1) Scholarly or Popular?
When evaluating print materials, you will first want to determine what type of publication is it - is it a scholarly or popular type of publication?
Web pages in particular can be tricky to evaluate since anyone can publish anything they want on the Web. The UC Berkeley Library has a superb tutorial including important questions to ask yourself when evaluating web pages.
Second, you should determine the bias of the publication. Figure out for whom the article was intended and determine if it is a balanced treatment. If it is not a balanced source, does it support the angle you wish to pursue? It is also a good idea to check the credibility and reputation of the author and the publisher.
Finally, you will want to make sure that your information is relevant to your research, particularly is you are examining an older source.
The following are questions you should consider when evaluating sources.
Other Secondary Sources
email@example.com, Ask a Librarian, Text us: 717-366-6623
Circulation Desk: firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-245-1397
Archives & Special Collections: email@example.com
Evaluating Sources by Dickinson College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Evaluating Sources was selected for inclusion in the ALA's PRIMO database.
Distinguishing Among Source Types by Dickinson College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.