Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

HU 3900: Inquiry Seminar - Hip Hop - Prof. Holger Droessler

Source Types

Common source types for humanities research include:

Evaluation is a Process

Questions to Ask When Evaluating the Sources You Find:

The 5 Ws The Surface-Level Questions The Deeper Questions

 

Who?

Who is the author, editor, or creator? Is the author qualified to write about this topic? 

What makes them qualified? First-hand experience? An advanced degree?

 

What?

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?

Is the source appropriate for the type of research you are doing?

Is it relevant to your research?

 

When?

When was this source published? 

Is the publication date appropriate for the type of research you are doing?

 

Where?

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

Did the authors cite sources that are credible? 

 

Why?

What was the goal of the author or publisher? Who is the intended audience?

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?

 

Many of these questions will NOT (a) be easy to find answers to and (b) tell you that the source you are reading is 100% credible, but they are still important to ask. Digging into a source itself and finding out more about it is part of the research process.

Evaluating sources is an ongoing activity you will do throughout your research, and it includes evaluation of your own search process. As you search, pay attention to the keywords and phrases you are using. Are you looking for information that will only confirm what you already suspect, or are you looking for possibly contradictory or opposing information as well? Do you have any 'go-to' sources that you use to find information? Are you using a variety of search tools and looking for different points of view? 

Evaluating Sources for Credibility

Here is a short video on source evaluation from the N.C. State librarians: