Evaluate sources

Print sources

A few criteria to help you ensure you are using the best information:

  1. Is the author an expert or authority?
    • Look on Library Search or databases to see what else they have written. What are their qualifications?
  2. Is it up to date?
    • Is this important in your field? If so, check inside the front few pages for date of publication. Look on LibrarySearch to see if there is a later edition.
  3. Who is the publisher?
    • Does the publisher have a particular bias? Look where it is published as well – political or religious beliefs can affect content. Is there a mission statement for the journal? Is it peer reviewed? Are there lots of advertisements?
  4. What do the reviewers say?
    • Check databases or the internet for responses or reviews
  5. Is it scholarly or popular?
    • Scholarly works declare interests or funding and are properly referenced.

Online information

  1. Credibility
    • Can you see who wrote the page? Is there an organisation affiliated to it, which you can check? Is it trying to sell you something?
  2. Accuracy
    • Are there lots of errors? Is there any way to verify the information (References? Links?)
  3. Is it up to date?
    • Can you tell when the information was last updated? Are any of the links broken? S someone maintaining the page?
  4. Are there any biases?
    • Are any affiliations or funders acknowledged or declared? Are there advertisements? Can you tell which is the content and which are the adverts?