Evaluating Resources

It is important to evaluate the credibility of any source before you rely on the information for your own research.

Evaluating print and Internet materials:

(Initial evaluation)
  • Author's credentials (what is their degree in? are they quoted in other articles? You may be able to locate authors and their credentials in our database: Biography and Genealogy Master Index)
  • Year of publication (is the source current or out-of-date for your topic?)
  • Edition (possible revisions)
  • Publisher (Is it is a University Press? Is the publisher reputable?)
  • Title of Journal (is the journal scholarly or popular? Look for journal descriptions using our database: Ulrich's)

(Content evaluation)

  • Intended Audience (juvenile, general or technical in language?)
  • Objective Reasoning
  • Coverage of topic (is the topic cover all important areas? Is it too broad or too general?)
  • Writing style
  • Evaluative reviews (use our Proquest database to locate book or article reviews)

This information was summarized from the Cornell University website:

Critically Analyzing Information Sources
This web site was developed by the librarians at Cornell University and is a good starting place to learn about the types of questions you should be asking concerning the appropriateness of resources you may find while conducting research in the literature.

Some other useful sites include:

Evaluating Web Pages
Developed by the librarians at Widener University this web page highlights those features that you want to look out for in a web page that will help you determine whether or not it is a good site.

Evaluating Information Found on the Internet
An excellent web site developed at Johns Hopkins University.

Last update: Aug. 7, 2012