Skip to main content

Research Paper Basics: Evaluating Sources

Is it credible?

Before you use or rely on information provided by a source, ask the following questions:

Currency
How timely is the information? Is it the most recent information or data on the topic?
 
Relevance
Is the information relevant to my research? Who is the audience?
 
Authority
What is the source of the information? Is the source an authority or expert on the subject? What are the author's credentials? Is the author affiliated with an organization that might benefit from the research? Is there current contact information for the author?
 
Accuracy
Is the information truthful? Is the information supported by other research? Is it peer-reviewed?
 
Purpose
Why does the information exist? Is it objective and impartial, or biased? Is it promoting something such a product or a particular religious, cultural or political point of view? Is it for entertainment or education?

Evaluating Sources for Credibility

 

Credits: Anne Burke, project lead and storyboards; Lisa Beckford, script and editing; Daria Dorafshar, graphics and animation; Andreas Orphanides, editing, audio production, technical infrastructure; Josephine McRobbie, narration. This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license. Published June 2015 by N.C. State University Libraries.

Links on Critical Thinking

Fact-Checker Sites