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Evaluating Information

The following questions and hints will be helpful when you are trying to evaluate a resource for your research:

Authority or Author

  • Who is the author? Is it an individual or a corporate author?
  • What are the author’s credentials (education, experience, institutional affiliation)?
  • Does the author display a bias or unique perspective?

Web of Science and Scopus are both useful in determining the citation history of a specific author.


  • Is the author writing on the subject of his or her expertise?
  • Is the author frequently cited/respected in the field of expertise?
  • When was the source published?
  • Is the publication date timely?
  • Who published the source? Does the publisher display a bias?
  • If published in a journal, is the journal peer-reviewed?

Content of Information Source

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • How well does the source cover your topic? All/Part/None?
  • Why is the article being written?
  • Are sources being cited?
  • Are arguments logically presented?
  • Are conclusions based on evidence provided in the source?
  • Is there a list of cited sources?
  • If the source is a book, does it include an index?
  • Is this a primary or secondary source?

Need help on how to cite resources? Go to the OWL.

Any Remaining Issues

  • What is your overall impression of this source?
  • Are there any remaining questions you have about the source that might bring into question its appropriateness?

Questions prepared by David Ellenwood and Lynne Rudasill.