Evaluating Sources

Being able to assess the quality and credibility of the information you find at the library or online is an essential skill in conducting quality research. To evaluate a source, consider the following:


  • Who published the source? Is it a university press or a large, reputable publisher? Is it from a government agency? Is the source self-published?
  • What is the purpose of the publication?
  • Who is the author? What is the author’s point of view?
  • Is there a list of references or works cited? What is the quality of these references?


  • Why was the source created? Who is the intended audience? What is the author’s intention?
  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda? Is the author's point of view objective and impartial?
  • Is the publication organized logically? Are the main points clearly presented? Do you find the text easy to read? Is the author repetitive?


  • When was the information published or posted? Is the source current or out of date for your topic?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?


  • Is this an important source for your needs? Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience? Is the level of scholarship appropriate or is it too elementary or advanced?