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English 1311 & 1312 Research: Evaluate Sources

A how-to guide to resources most useful for conducting research for English 1312

Why Evaluate Sources?


It is critical to evaluate your sources for your college assignments.  Your professors expect you to gather information that is of high quality and comes from authoritative sources. Therefore you need to evaluate efficiently every information source you come across.

Always check for:

  1. Authority
  2. Accuracy
  3. Objectivity
  4. Currency
  5. Relevance


Evaluating Web Sources

This tutorial offers some general guidelines about how to treat information you find on the internet.

Evaluating Sources

This short video by iLearning Library Services from BYU will  show you  how  to apply basic criteria to evaluate sources when conducting research. 

1. Authority

Knowing the author's or creator's credentials  is key on evaluating sources. Information from a scholar or expert in a discipline will be more reliable.

Ask yourself...

  • Who is the author or organization creating the content?
  • What are the author’s credentials and qualifications?
  • Is the person an expert in their field? 
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
  • What other information can you find about the author or organization responsible for the content?


2. Accuracy

High quality information can be verified. 

Ask yourself....

  • Is the information complete?
  • Can the information be supported by evidence or confirmed by other sources?
  • Are there references or a list of works cited to identify where the author got the information?
  • Has the information been reviewed or referred? 

3. Objectivity

Everyone has an agenda and you need to evaluate the information from different perspectives.

Ask yourself...

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

4. Currency

Currency is about the timeliness of the information. This is essential  in topics dealing with  health sciences and sciences fields because information is constantly changing.

Ask yourself....

  • How recent is the information?
  • Has it been updated?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?   


5. Relevance

The relevancy of the information has to deal directly with your topic and assigment. 

Ask yourself?

  •  Is the information relevant for your topic and assignment requirements?
  • Does it answer questions you have about your topic?
  • Does it meet sources requirements from your professor? Scholarly, primary, per-reviewed?

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