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DESPeration 101 - Introduction to Research: Evaluating Sources

This LibGuides will help you approach your research

Evaluating Information

As you begin to look at the resources that you’ve located, begin to take a close look at your information to make sure that it is credible, reliable and useful.

As yourself the following questions:

  • Is it relevant to your topic?
  • Is the date of publication appropriate?
  • Is the author qualified?
    • What is the author’s education background and experience?
  • What is the author’s purpose for writing the book or article?
    • To inform? To persuade? To sell? To advocate?
  • How was the information obtained?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Are there references or footnotes?
  • Is the work primary or is it secondary?
  • Who is the publisher for the work?
  • Is the work popular or scholarly?



  • Currency – the timeliness of the information – what was the last update of the web page?
  • Has the theory been disproved since publication?
  • Certain topics will change significantly in a short period of time, and you want to make sure that your information is current and informed.
  • That’s not to say that older resources are not acceptable or relevant.
  • Relevance – does the information meet your needs?
  • Authority – can you trust the source? Who is the author or publisher? And their credentials
  • Accuracy - is the information truthful, reliable and correct? Are there footnotes, a bibliography?
  • Purpose - what is the information there for? To inform? Entertain? Sell you something?