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Getting Started With Research Resources: Evaluate Sources

Information on how to find resources for research, evaluate, and ethically cite them, as well as writing and citation help.

Evaluating Sources

As part of the third step in Information Literacy, when choosing sources, it is important for you to evaluate each one to ensure that you have the best quality source for your project.  
Click here for more information about Information Literacy.

Information Literacy Graphic
Here are questions for you to consider when evaluating your sources:

Author - Who is the source of the information?

CREDIBILITY, AUTHORITY, RELIABILITY, and VALIDITY

  • Who is responsible for the intellectual content within the resource?
  • Does the author provide contact information?
  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Where does the author work?
  • Where is the source published?
  • Is the publisher well known?
  • For web sites, who is sponsoring the web site?
  • For web sites, what is the domain (.com, .gov, .edu, etc.)?

RADCAB

RADCAB is a mnemonic acronym for evaluating information created by Karen M. Christensson (http://www.radcab.com/‚Äč)

R = Relevancy
A = Appropriateness
D = Detail
C = Currency

A = Accuracy
B = Bias

Content - How is the information written?

Is the information too vague or too specific?

ACCURACY

 

  • What are the author's research methods?
  • Does the author provide supportive evidence?
  • Have other scholars cited this author?
  • Is the information accurate, credible?
  • Are the spelling and grammar correct?
OBJECTIVITY

 

  • What are the goals and objectives of the author?
  • What is the purpose of the source? (To inform? To explain? To persuade? To advertise? Something else?)
  • Is the information within the source biased?
  • Why was the source created?
  • Who was the source created for? (ex. general population, other scholars, etc.)
  • For web sites, are there advertisements?
CURRENCY

 

  • How old is the information within the source?
  • When was the document produced?
  • When was the last time the source was updated?
  • For web sites, are the links alive or dead?

Evaluate Sources Worksheet

Basis of Information

What are the sources of information THEY used?

  • Theory
  • Primary or evidence-based research
  • Opinion
  • Editorial comments
  • Advice
  • Best practices

Fake News?!?

Fake news and false information is widely spread on the Internet. How can you tell if what you are reading is real? Here are some sources to help: