When you're evaluating information that you find through an online search or through library resources, you can use these questions to help you decide how relevant, credible, and useful a source will be for your project:
Who was involved in creating the source?
- Try to identify the name of an author or authors, then do an online search to learn more about them. What gives them authority to produce information on the topic? What limitations do they have? Consider their credentials and experience.
- What group, institution, or publication is responsible for producing or hosting this source? Do an online search to find out more about this entity. Why do you think they produced this source?
- How does the source acknowledge or cite the ideas of others? Whose perspectives are represented, and whose may be left out?
Who is the intended audience?
- Consider the visual design of the source as well as the type of language it uses. Who do you think is the intended audience? What does this mean for how you plan to use the source?
When and how was the source created?
- What process did the author(s) have to go through to produce this piece? Make a list of steps they might have had to take, from having an initial idea through choosing how to present it to an audience.
- How long do you think it took for this source to reach its current form? What does that mean for your topic?
- When was the source published or last updated? What does this mean for your topic?