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ISE 2800: College Writing for Non-Native English Speakers - Dr. Esther Boucher-Yip: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources for Credibility

Here is a short video from the N.C. State librarians on evaluating sources for credibility:

Primary & Secondary Sources

Reading A Scholarly Journal Article

Anatomy of a Scholarly Journal Article

Check the Anatomy of a Scholarly Article to find out what a scholarly article generally looks like.  Please note that this is only one example of the format of a scholarly article. Scholarly articles can also contain headings such as methodology, discussion of results etc.

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Evaluation is a Process

The Important Questions of Evaluation:

The 5 Ws
(and one H)
The Surface-Level Questions The Deeper Questions



Who is the author, editor, or creator?

Is the author qualified to write about this topic? 

Who is the publisher?

What makes them qualified?

First-hand experience?

An advanced degree?



What type of document is it?

For example, is it a newspaper article? A blog? A government website? A scholarly article? A book?  

What is it about?

There is no 'bad' type of document, but some have gone through a more rigorous review process than others.



When was this source published?

Is the publication date appropriate for your research? 

The 'up-to-date'-ness of a source matters more for some research questions than others. 



Where did the authors get their information from? Are citations provided?

What types of sources did the authors cite?



What was the goal of the author or publisher?

Is there bias? 

Bias does not necessarily negate credibility. We all have biases. The question then becomes: are those biases disclosed? Do they impact the quality of the information?



How was the work reviewed before publication?

Was the work subject to peer review?

Source Evaluation Guidelines