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Professionalism & Life Skills (FRSH-100): How to Read a Research Article

Introduction to using the Library for the FRSH-100 class.

Evaluating Information Sources


This guide presents techniques for evaluating a variety of information sources. This can help determine if a source is appropriate to use for your assignments and coursework. 


Information can be easy to find online, but figuring out if it is "good" information can be difficult. We evaluate sources to check if they are reliable, factual, valid, and trustworthy.


Critical evaluation of information is a skill. Like all skills, you can learn how to do it through practice, patience, and experience.


The basic questions and criteria are the same for all types of information sources: books, articles, academic/scholarly publications, websites, media and more.


ASK - 

  • WHO? - Authority - Who is the author or creator; what is their background and qualifications? Can you identify a writer or creator? Is the creator an individual or an organization or company?

  • WHY? - Purpose & Objectivity - Why are they presenting this information? Are they trying to persuade you, sell you something, or provide information? What is their point-of-view? Do they have a bias or prejudice?

  • WHAT? - Accuracy of Content - Is the information based on facts and evidence? Do they cite their sources and explain how & where they got their information?

  • WHEN?- Timeliness Is there a publication date provided? Is the information current and up-to-date? Does it need to be? Is it acceptable to use older or historic information for your project?

  • HOW? - Publication & Presentation - Is it published in a reputable source, like a newspaper, magazine or journal? If it is a book, can you identify the publisher, such as a University Press? Is it well-organized and professional looking?

More help on Evaluating Sources from Online Writing Labs (OWL):

The Culinary Institute of America | Conrad N. Hilton Library | 1946 Campus Drive | Hyde Park, NY 12538-1430
Telephone: 845-451-1747 | Email: