Evaluating Your Sources
Did you find the kinds of sources appropriate for your need or assignment? Here is a checklist for evaluating a variety of sources. Select those that are appropriate to your need(s).
- Who is the author of the work?
- What do you know about the author? Are credentials provided?
- What else has this author published?
- How long have they been publishing?
- Is this their special subject, or are there others?
- Does s/he publish in journals or magazines or both? Books?
- Does this author's works appear only on Web pages?
- When was the work published?
- Do you need the latest information or historical data?
- Do you know when the information was created and/or updated?
- Does the work attempt to be comprehensive or is it selective?
- In the context of your research, is the work primary (original, uninterpreted information) or secondary (interpretive, summary, and analytic)?
- Does the work raise questions it doesn't answer?
- Does the work contain data that needs to be checked elsewhere?
- Is the source of data used indicated somewhere in the work?
- Who is the intended audience for this work?
- Is the work trying to persuade or to inform?
- Does it use language that is emotional or neutral?
- Is it scholarly, intended for an academic or professional audience?
- Is it aimed at the general public?