Be careful when selecting sources for your assignments, especially online sources. Always evaluate your sources! Use the criteria below to evaluate your sources. See the links under Evaluating Online Sources for specifics on evaluating online sources.
Currency: Check the date of publication. Is the material current? Does it contain outdated or disproven information? Is the site updated regularly?
Reliability: Is the information presented accurate and dependable? Is there a bibliography? One way to help determine the accuracy of an item is to compare the facts with other documents on the same topic to check supporting facts or data.
Authority: Who is the author? What can you find out about them? Can you determine their credentials? Are they a qualified expert? Is the author's contact info listed?
Accuracy: Know where the information is coming from. Is the work based on personal opinion, original research, laboratory experiments, or other documentation? From what sources were the facts gathered?
Purpose: The purpose can range from dissemination of information about an important study or research project, to the insight of a specific group of people, to propaganda.Why was the information created: to inform, to sell, to persuade? Is it fact or opinion? Is the information biased?
Perspective: Be watchful of author bias, especially when looking for objective accounts. Consider the author’s cultural, political, social, and economic background.
Intended Audience: Who is the target audience? Children, laypersons, scholars, professionals? This is often reflected in the author’s writing style. Is this appropriate for your purposes?