Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MUSI4520: Sound/Body/Gender

Questions to ask yourself when evaluating sources

Use this infographic from Depauw University or the list of questions below to help you evaluate whether or not to include a given website in your source list:

Authority

  • Who is the author?
  • What else has the author written?
  • In which communities and contexts does the author have expertise?

Purpose

  • Why was this source created?
  • What (research) questions does it attempt to answer?
  • Does it strive to be objective?
  • Does it fill any other personal, professional, or societal needs?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Publication

  • Where was it published?
  • Does the publication have a particular editorial position?
  • Were there any apparent barriers to publication?
    • Was it self-published?
    • Were there outside editors or reviewers?

Relevance

  • How is it relevant to your research?
    • Does it analyze the primary sources that you're researching?
    • Does it cover the authors or individuals that you're researching, but different primary texts?
    • Can you apply the authors' frameworks of analysis to your own research?
  • What is the scope of coverage?
    • Is it a general overview or an in-depth analysis?
    • Does the scope match your own information needs?

Currency

  • When was the source first published?
  • When was it last updated?
  • What has changed in your field of study since the publication date?
  • Are there any published reviews, responses or rebuttals?

Documentation

  • Did they cite their sources?
  • Who do they cite?
    • Is the author affiliated with any of the authors they're citing?
    • Are the cited authors part of a particular academic movement or school of thought?
  • Look closely at the quotations and paraphrases from other sources:
    • Did they appropriately represent the context of their cited sources?
    • Are they cherry-picking facts to support their own arguments?
    • Did they appropriately cite ideas that were not their own?

Adapted from the University of California Berkeley guide on evaluating sources: http://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/evaluating-resources