Skip to Main Content

Understand and Evaluate Sources

Evaluate Sources

It is important to evaluate sources for quality and credibility before using them in your research or assignment. Asking the following questions will help you evaluate the sources you gather. 


  • What makes the author(s) an authority on this subject?
  • Does the author cite their experience/credentials?
  • Is there any way to contact the author?
  • Where did the article appear? Who is responsible for the information presented?
  • Is the publication scholarly or peer-reviewed?
  • Is the material taken from other sources fully credited? 

Scope, Coverage, and Relevance

  • Who is the intended audience? 
  • Are the content and level appropriate for your assignment? 
  • What time period is covered?
  • What geographical area is covered?
  • Is the information a subset of a more comprehensive source? If so, who abridged it? 

Bias and Accuracy

  • How is the information presented? (fact, opinion, propaganda) 
  • If presented as fact, is it accurate? Can you find other sources verifying claims?
  • Is there a bias? (cultural, political, religious) If so, is the bias clearly stated? 
  • Currency or Timeliness
  • How recent is the information? Is it important that the information is up-to-date? (technology, medicine, science)
  • Is some of the information obviously out-of-date? Too old for your needs?



  • Did it use accepted methodologies for its field?
  • Is the information clearly written?
  • Is the information presented in an organized manner? Do the links work?
  • Does the author agree or disagree with most other scholars in the field?


  • Is the presenter trying to sell something? (product, philosophy, their self)
  • Does the article or website have a corporate sponsor?