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Research and the Library: Using Resources WISely: Evaluating Sources

This tutorial and module will guide you through the process of library research.

When searching Library Databases, it is usually easy to tell when you are looking at a scholarly resource. However, when searching on the open web, determining if a source is credible can be more difficult. Some websites are managed by individuals or groups whose purpose may be sell products or sway opinions. Others are reputable outlets for governments, international organizations, and trustworthy NGOs. Use the tips from this page and these videos to help you spot the differences. Try out a few websites in the Evaluation Tool to learn even more.

Evaluating Resources Infographic. See bottom of page for text.

Evaluating Sources

Use this easy to remember test to help you evaluate sources.

Here are some useful fact checking websites to help you evaluate your sources:

Text from Evaluating Resources Infographic

Tips for Evaluating Resources:

Authorship: Who wrote the information? Are they an expert in their field? Check the author's credentials to make sure you can trust the resource.

Source: Is it put out by a trusted source? Was the piece edited for style like many magazines or did it undergo peer review like scholarly journals? Check to see if the source is credible.

Bias: Does the author or publisher of the information have an interest in promoting a particular viewpoint? That would make it hard to trust their credibility.

Timeliness: When was it written? The information should not be out of date, but publications about recent events may not have been properly vetted yet.

References: Did they include a reference or source list to back up their argument? You can check their facts against other sources to make sure they're accurate.

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