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WGS 201 (Kulbaga) by Brea McQueen: Evaluating Sources

What to Look for When Evaluating Sources (Especially Websites)

Let’s face it–there is a lot of information available on the Internet! How do you determine if it’s GOOD information, especially if you want to use it for research?

Who wrote this information, and why?
What credentials or expertise does the author have in the subject area?
Is the information fact-based, or opinion-based?
Who owns or is sponsoring the website?

Who is the intended audience? Is it for scholars, the community, or private groups?
Does the site include a mission statement?
What is the purpose of the site? Is it to inform, instruct, persuade, or to sell?

Is the information biased? If so, does the author acknowledge these biases?
Does the author present alternative points of view?
Does the website sponsor have any vested interests that could cause bias?


Is the information contained in this site correct?
How accurate is other information within the site?

Where does the information come from?
Does the author provide references or a bibliography?
If references are listed, are they from primary or secondary sources? Are the references themselves trustworthy?
Do the links to references work, or are they broken?

When was the site last updated?
Have there been any new developments or changes in that subject since it was created? Is it outdated?
How current are the sources listed as references?


How will using this source contribute to your research?
Is this type of resource permitted by your professor?


Evaluating Information - A tutorial discussing six ways to evaluate a resource.

Choosing the Best Web Sources - An online tutorial that will help you recognize hidden web resources, determine if a site on the open web is reliable, and learn how to analyze resources on the open web.

Understanding Misinformation - Video tutorials that review common types of misinformation and share strategies for evaluating online news items.

Objectivity in Reporting - Video that defines categories of information, shows how pieces are categorized, and teaches how to evaluate news items for bias and opinion

Evaluating Digital Sources Using Lateral Reading - This tutorial teaches how to learn more about a website by leaving the website to consult other sources and learn more about the organization or authors behind the site.