Evaluation of Sources
Once you begin to gather your sources, you need to ensure you use them correctly AND that the sources themselves are reliable.
You must evaluate your sources to ensure their reliability. Use the following criteria:
- Does the author appear to be an authority on the subject?
- Can the source be relied upon for objective, impartial information? For example, a book about a President’s foreign policy by the Secretary of State may not include dissenting views and therefore may not be entirely reliable.
- How current is the information? Try to use the most recent articles as they may include new findings and research.
- If it is an article, where did it appear? Is it a reputable source?
- Internet sources: Who has sponsored, or is responsible for the maintenance of the web site? If the website address contains .com, it is probably a commercial site or homepage and its information may not be reliable. Sites that end in .org, .edu, or .gov are probably maintained by a non-commercial organization, but they still need to be assessed carefully. Please click here for a Website Evaluation Checklist.
If you are in doubt about the reliability of a source, ask your teacher or the librarian!
Once you have gathered your sources, you then need to think about how you use and cite them.
Find below a 3-minute video about evaluating websites. It was made by students at the University of California, Irvine and demonstrates walking through the steps of analyzing sites.
(University of California, Irvine). "Evaluating Websites." youtube.com. 25 July 2008.