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Evaluate Your Sources (Wayne College)

Accuracy

In general, for all formats:

  • Is the source scholarly?  If so, then many of the questions regarding accuracy or reliability are embedded in the nature of a scholarly source.

  • Is the writing clear and free of grammatical and typographical errors?

  • Do the facts in other sources support the facts presented in this source?  If things don't match up, you will need to determine which is the better source.

  • Are the sources for statistics and facts documented so you can verify them in another source? (It’s a good idea to do this).

  • Are quotations attributed to named people? Be sure to track down the authority of those people as well.

For books:

  • What evidence of research is provided? Look for references or a bibliography / works cited, endnotes or footnotes.

  • Have book reviews indicated that the book offers accurate, reliable information?

For periodical articles:

  • What evidence of research is provided? Look for references or a bibliography / works cited, endnotes or footnotes.

  • Is there evidence of bias or propaganda? (See the Purpose guide for more details)

  • Did the article undergo peer review?

For websites:

  • What other sites have links back to this site? Using Google, type in “link:” immediately followed by the website address.

  • Is the website well-organized and easy to navigate?

  • What are the author(s) research methods?