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Library Resources for International Students: Evaluating Sources

This guide is for international students who are interested in learning about what the Roberta A. Smith University Library offers.

Evaluating Sources

Did you find a good source? Make sure you evaluate it before using it in a paper:

Evaluate the Information You Find


  • What is the purpose of the information?
  • Is the information reliable?
  • Are there obvious errors?


  • Who wrote the content?
  • Is an author's name listed?
  • What is the author's credentials?
  • Can you contact the author?
  • Who is publishing or hosting the content?


  • Is the content objective or subjective?
  • Is the content biased or unbiased?
  • How detailed is the information?
  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?
  • Is the content designed to persuade you to change your mind on a topic?
  • Does the content include paid advertising?


  • When was the information published?
  • When was it last updated?
  • If it's a web site, are the links up-to-date?


  • What topics are covered in the content?
  • Does the content offer additional insight that could not be found elsewhere?
  • Is the content discussed in-depth or only at a high-level?
  • Does the author provide citations?

Based on the chart in Kapoun, J. (1998). Teaching undergrads web evaluation: A guide for library instruction. College & Research Libraries News, 59(7), 522-523 and concepts in Beck, S. (1997) Evaluation Criteria.   The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It’s a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources.  Retrieved on March 1, 2005 from