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ENG 101 Information Literacy Program Prof. Allen

Evaluating sources

Evaluating Sources

Carefully evaluate all information, whether from a book, article, or website, by asking the following questions:

  • Who?  Who is the author of this source?
    • Are they qualified to write/speak on the subject?
    • Do you detect any bias on the author’s part in relation to the subject?
  • What? What is the source?
    • Does it have a title?
    • Is it a primary source, such as an original document or creative work or is it a secondary source, such as a report or analysis of primary sources?
    • Is it authoritative or trustworthy?
  • How?
    • How was the source produced?
    • Who is the publisher or sponsoring organization?
  • Where did you find the source?
    • Was it through a library’s databases or through an internet search engine that may list results in a biased or weighted manner?
  • When was the source published?
    • Has it been replaced or updated?

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., The Modern Language Association, 2016, pp. 11-12.

MLA also provides this great checklist for evaluating sources. 



See also these other media literacy library guides

Check out these other library research guides for information about evaluating sources.


Spotting Bad Science

A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science handout


Brunning, Andy. "A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science." Ci: Compound Interest, Andy Brunning/Compound Interest, 2017, Accessed 7 Dec. 2017.