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ENGL 102/108: Evaluate your sources

Evaluate your sources

Do you have a set of focused resources to begin working with?

If so, now it's time to evaluate them for credibility and for how well they meet the parameters of your assignment.


Not all your information needs to  come from peer-reviewed, scholarly journals, but it all should come from a source you consider trustworthy. 

As you review your sources ask yourself:

  • Who created this information? 
  • Does the resource give a broad, unbiased overview of your topic?

If you can confidently answer both questions in a positive way, set the source aside (you can look at it more deeply later) and analyze your next resource.

Work your way through your resources until you have a set you feel confident in using.

What about Wikipedia?
Students are often told to avoid Wikipedia when doing their searching. This is because Wikipedia is open source and can be edited by anyone online. However, this doesn't mean that you can't use Wikipedia to gain some additional background information about your topic. Just make sure you can confirm that information elsewhere.

Are enough of your articles scholarly?

For most classes in college, you are asked to include scholarly/peer-reviewed articles in your bibliography. This means articles that are written by someone consider to be an expert in their field, and the articles are in turn reviewed by other experts in the field. Find out how many peer-reviewed sources are required by your instructor.

Quick assessment: is it scholarly?
Look to see if there is a works cited page and to look to see if the article authors are from an university.

You can find peer-reviewed articles on the Internet, but it's often more difficult to figure out which are legitimate and which are not. Most articles you find on the library website would be considered legitimate scholarly work.

Learn more

Try our tutorial:
How do I evaluate online information?