Evaluating and thinking critically about your sources is both a crucial part of the research process and a valuable skill that can help you succeed here at Emory and beyond. The following ideas and resources can help you develop your source evaluation skills and become a savvier consumer and user of information.
Determine if a Source is Credible
Determining whether or not a source is credible can be challenging. Consider the following when you’re evaluating a source. And remember, when in doubt you can always ask your professor or a librarian for help.
- Who created the source? Check out the author and the publisher and their reputation.
- What does the source say? Make sure the claims in the source are accurate. See if your source has already been fact-checked.
- Why was this source created? What is the purpose of this source? Is the aim to persuade, to share facts, to explore an idea?
- Remember to read laterally! See what other people are saying about your source, who else is discussing the topic, etc.
Determine if a Source is Appropriate for Your Research
Remember to consider you own research project and your unique information needs. Context matters when it comes to source evaluation. To learn more, visit Identifying Appropriate Sources.
Identify Scholarly Sources
A scholarly source is a source that has been written by an expert in a subject and peer-reviewed by other experts. Your professor might ask you to use scholarly sources for your research assignment. To learn more, visit Identifying Peer-Reviewed Articles.