How to determine if the
information you find is
usable in your paper?
There are five criteria to look for in a source:
• When was it published or produced?
• Is it a first edition? (Many editions of a book
indicate it has become standard and is reliable.)
• When was the web site last updated? (If there is no
information about the date of publication or update
don’t assume it is current)
• How many dead links are on the web page?
• Is the information out-dated? (It may have been
current at one time, but is it now?)
How detailed is the information? Is it too elementary, too technical,
too advanced, or just right for your needs?
Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes, or typos?
Is there a bibliography at the end?
Is the web site free of advertising?
Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
Is there a published review of the book?
Is the information well-researched?
Is the author objective and un-biased?
•Are there facts or statistics? Where are they coming
•Is information omitted or too much included?
•Does the source update other sources or add new
•Is it free, or is there a fee to access the information?
•Do you need special software to view the
Beware of Internet Resources!
•What are the author’s credentials?
•Are any credentials even given?
•Is the book, article, web site, etc. written in
their area of expertise?
•Is it published by a university press? (If so, it is
•Check the domain of a web site.
•Know the difference between an author and a
Web Site Domains
Reliable web site domains include:
.edu (educational site)
.gov (government site)
.org (non-profit organization site) Be careful to
evaluate .orgs very closely!
Unreliable web site domains include:
.com (commercial site – may contain biased or nonauthoritative information)
.net (network site)
•What is the purpose of the document? Why
was it produced?
• commercial(i.e. selling)
•(A book’s forward or introduction or a
website’s “about us” page often provides this
If you have any questions or need
help locating resources,etc. Please
feel free to contact me.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-382-4829