As part of reviewing and refining your search results, you will need to learn how to evaluate resources to determine their suitability for an academic assignment.

Not all information is credible or true, and sources vary widely in their currency, relevance, authority, accuracy and bias. Use the following criteria to evaluate your sources.

CurrencyIs the resource current? Does it consider the latest research in the field? Some disciplines advance more quickly than others. Currency is more important in some assignments than others.
RelevanceWhat is the source about: is it relevant for your topic? Does it have the information you need? Consider the intended audience. A resource written for young children will not be relevant for your assignment.
AuthorityHow reputable is the source? Is it peer reviewed? What are the author's qualifications and affiliation? Has the author been cited by other sources? Can you find out who the author is, whether they have been cited by other sources, what their qualifications are and who they are affiliated with? Is it clear who created the content, or how it was created? Check that articles are from peer-reviewed journals. 
AccuracyIs the resource accurate? Are the author's arguments supported by evidence (primary material, case studies, narratives, statistics, recent findings)?​ Is the content properly referenced? 
BiasWhat is the purpose of the article and its intended audience?​ Is the author trying to convince the reader of their opinion, or trying to sell something? Did they receive funding from a corporation to conduct the research? Is the reporting objective?  Are facts or opinions given? How was the content distributed or received? These factors could make the resource more biased and less objective. 
The videos below give you more information on evaluating resources and evaluating websites.

Evaluating resources

Evaluating websites

Discard content from sources not evaluated as being authoritative or suitable for academic research. As you write your paper, build a reference list of sources used to support the argument.

Need help?

Librarians can help you with evaluating resources: Ask our Librarians.