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NAS 101: Native American Cultures: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Information

When looking at a source, evaluate it using criteria such as:

Purpose & Audience

  • Who is the source designed for?
  • Is the source scholarly or popular?
  • Are there advertisements on the source?
  • What is the overall purpose of the source?

Authority & Credibility

  • Can the author of the source be identified?
  • What are the author's qualifications?
  • Is the source affiliated with a particular organization?
  • If a website, what is the domain of the source? (.edu, .gov, .org, .com)?
  • Do you think the author has expertise on the subject?

Accuracy & Reliability

  • Does the source appear to be well-researched?
  • Are there references for the information supporting the source's statements or viewpoints?
  • Does the source include grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors?
  • How does the source compare to library resources available on the topic?

Currency & Timeliness

  • When was this information published?
  • If a website, does the page indicate when it was most recently updated?
  • If a website, are there dead links on the page?

Objectivity or Bias

  • Does the source present many opinions or just one?
  • Can you tell if the source presents mostly opinions or facts?
  • Can you identify any bias in the information presented?
  • Is the source sponsored by a company or organization?
  • If there are advertisements, are they easy to distinguish from the informational content?

Structure & Organization

  • Is the source well organized?
  • If a website, is it easy to navigate between different pages?
  • Does the source have an index or table of contents? If a website, does the site offer a search box?

Finally, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this source a reliable, well-documented information source provided by a reputable author or organization?
  • Would this be a good source of information for my assignment?

Evaluating Websites

Evaluating Sources (Infographic)

(Image from the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity.)