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South Forsyth High School

How do I know which sources are appropriate to use?

Evaluating Sources

Questions to ask:

  • Have you used a variety of sources?


    • Compare and contrast the information you find with several authors and and array of sources such as books, Emory dissertations, journal articles, and studies.
    • Comparing and contrasting the information will help you in identifying any bias and enhance the validity and reliability of your research.
  • What are the author's qualifications and affiliation (i.e., where does the author work)?
  • What is the date of the publication? Is the information out-of-date for your topic?
  • Who's published it?

    Is it a university press -- in which case the material is more likely to be scholarly -- or a well-known publisher?

  • Is the information valid and well-researched?

    That is, are the author's ideas supported with research documented by footnotes, a bibliography, and/or a works cited page?

The "Five Criteria," used for evaluating WWW sites, can be used when evaluating information from any source (magazine articles, books, newspaper articles, etc.)

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