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Carpentry: Evaluating Sources

ABC-R Handout

A: Authority

  • Author: Who wrote the information? Is it signed by an author? What are that person’s credentials? 
  • Publisher: Who published the information? If it is a web site, is contact and organization information available? What can you learn from the domain: (educational: .edu; commercial: .com; non-profit: .org; governmental: .gov)?
  • Citations: Is the work researched and are the ideas, facts and research supported with citations?

B: Bias

  • Purpose: What is the purpose of the information? Is it to entertain? Inform? Advertise? Persuade? 
  • Audience: Who is the intended audience for the information? 
  • Evidence: Is the information supported by other information in the field? If a website, does it link to other credible sources of this information? 
  • Balance: Is the information balanced? Does it promote a particular perspective or agenda?

C: Currency

  • Date: Is the information up-to-date? 
  • Updates: If a website, is the date of publication available? Is the web page updated regularly? 
  • Links: If a website, are the links to other information current? Do the links work?

R: Relevance

  • Relevance: Is the information relevant to your topic? What is the central point or thesis?
  • Focus: How does the thesis support, develop or refute your topic? How does it work with your other sources?
  • Appropriateness: Is this information source appropriate for college academic work?

Video: How Library Stuff Works: Scholarship as Conversation

Source: "How Library Stuff Works: Scholarship as Conversation" by McMaster Libraries, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Learn how students are active participants in academic conversation with their peers, instructors, and all those who came before them.