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Writing 101 presented by Lee Sorensen: Evaluating Sources

Sarah Town - W 101

Evaluating Sources


  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • If this is an online source, are the links functional?


  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is this written for?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level?


  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on this topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?


  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?


  • Is this source created to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propoganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Peer Review

A peer-reviewed source is a work that has been evaluated by subject matter experts before publication. This evaluation process is designed to ensure that publications are original, accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to the field of study, all the characteristics researchers are looking for in their sources.

Evaluating Newspapers


  • What is the editorial bias? 
  • Does the newspaper support a particular political party? 
  • How long has the newspaper been published? 
  • What other newspapers existed in the same city at that time?
  • Did it change titles and ownership over time?