Skip to Main Content

University of Portland Clark Library

Getting Started with Research

Consider these Questions When Evaluating Sources

Who wrote this source? 

  • What can you find about about the author of this source?
  • Do they have a degree or expertise related to this topic?
  • Are there any obvious conflicts of interest between the author(s) and their work?

What is the content of the source?

  • Is the content relevant or useful to you?
  • Is the content credible? Does it support what you found in other sources?
  • What does the content look like?
    • Does it have advertisements?
    • Does it look like a professional source?
  • Does it include a bibliography or citations to help you track down where the author found their information?

Where was the source published? 

  • What type of source is it? Is it a:
    • Newspaper/magazine article?
    • Scholarly journal article?
    • Personal blog?
    • Government document?
    • Non-profit organization?
  • What is the quality of that type of source? 
  • Is the source edited or reviewed before being published online?

When was the source published?

  • Is there a date the source was:
    • created?
    • last updated?
    • copyrighted?

Why was the source published?

  • What is its purpose?
    • To inform?
    • To sell something?
    • To persuade the reader of a point of view? 
  • Does the source have a bias or argue for a particular point of view?

What is your thinking about this source?

Is this useful to you?

Is it a high-quality source you would use in a paper or presentation?

Get Help from Wikipedia

You are probably familiar with Wikipedia as a source of background information. Because of its extensive coverage, Wikipedia can be a useful way to evaluate a website by getting outside the site. The Wikipedia author(s) might help you understand the site's purpose and credibility, and they will cite their sources for claims. Here's an example of how Wikipedia can be helpful:

Screen capture shows Wikipedia article about advocacy group American College of Pediatricians.

In the description above, the Wikipedia author(s) tells you that American College of Pediatricians might have designed its name to be confused with American Academy of Pediatrics. It is socially conservative and has been listed as a hate group. It has been accused by mainstream researchers of mischaracterizing their work. | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
Copyright © University of Portland, All Rights Reserved | Icons made by Freepik from