When evaluating ANY source use this list of common questions to guide you through the process. For more information see the Library Quick Guide on evaluating websites.
Currency: Information is timely.
- Can you locate a publication date or posted date?
- Are there revisions or updates to the information?
- Is the information current enough for your topic?
Relevance: Information connects to your research needs.
- Does the information answer your research question?
- How does the information compare to other sources you found?
- Is the information appropriate for college-level courses?
- Have you explored a variety of sources to find the most relevant information?
Authority: Information comes from a trusted source/expert.
- Is there a clearly identified author, organization, and/or publisher?
- Does the author have notable credentials, affiliations, or additional publications?
- Can the author be seen as an authority or expert on the topic?
- Does the URL (.gov, .org, .com, .edu, .net, .mil) suggest an affiliation?
Accuracy: Information is correct, reliable, and factual.
- Can you identify the original source(s) of information?
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Has the information been peer reviewed or fact checked?
- Is the information supported by other sources?
- Is the information error-free and well edited?
- Is the information free from logical fallacies or emotionally charged language?
Purpose: Information has a clear reason or intent.
- Is there an identifiable bias (political, personal, ideological, institutional)?
- What is the source's agenda (inform, persuade, sell, mislead, provoke)?
- Is the information factual, opinion, propaganda, or satirical?
- Does the source clearly identify a purpose or editorial standards (About section)?
- Is the source speaking to a specific audience?