Need sources for your paper? Evaluate your sources to make sure that they are going to give your project the best support possible.
Evaluate sources the following ways:
- Audience. For whom is this source intended?
- Popular sources (magazines, newspapers) = the general population
- Scholarly sources (journal articles, some books) = academics and researchers
- Accuracy. Is the information in this source correct?
- Popular = New York Times, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal and other respected publications. Trade Publications such as Broadcast and Cable, PRWeek, and Advertising Age
- Scholarly = peer-reviewed journals
- Bias. Does the information in the source support a particular agenda?
- Popular/Scholarly = the author, publication or article itself could be bias
- Consider the background; if a company commissions a report, it will be more bias than one performed by an independent agency, etc.
- Credibility. Is the author an expert in this field?
- Popular = not experts, but may focus in that type of journalism
- Scholarly = academics or researchers, usually affiliated with a University (credentials should always be listed in the article)
- Other = company statistics, financial data, and government data are all considered credible. Just remember to consider bias!
- Currency. Is the information up to date?
- Think about changes in government policy, or improvements in science
- Don't include theories/articles that have since been disproved or dated
Need more information? Check out UNC Libraries' Evaluating Information tutorial. Learn more in depth information about what to look for when evaluating books, articles, and websites. Want more information on Scholarly v. Popular articles? This brief video can help you learn more about what each sources' strengths and weaknesses are. More Questions? Contact the Park Library.