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.
Evaluating Sources for Credibility
To evaluate a source you must read and think about it. Questions to ask yourself about a source are listed below.
- How old is the source? Can you find the date the information was created?
- How important is currency for your research topic?
- If the source is a webpage, are there any broken links on the page? If so, that might mean the page is no longer maintained.
Relevancy or Usefulness
- Does the information you find have anything to do with your topic?
- What are you trying to accomplish with the information you find? For example, are you writing a research paper, looking for a quick fact or deciding which classes to take? Does the information you find help you do that?
Why or why not?
- Who is responsible for the information? Is it a person? What do you know about that person's qualifications or experience?
- Is the information produced by an organized group of people such as an advocacy group or government agency? What do you know about that group?
- If it's a website, is it a .com, .edu, .gov or other?
- Can you identify any errors of fact?
- Does the page list any sources or clues about where the information came from? Can you verify those sources?
Point of View, Objectivity or Bias
- Does the person, group or organization have a bias? What is it?
- What is the source trying to do? Is it trying to inform, entertain or express an opinion?
- What tone does the author use to accomplish this? For example, is the tone humorous, sarcastic, concerned, angry, informative, or neutral?
PCC "Know Your Sources" Infographic
Getting Reference Help
- E-mail a Question to Reference
- Chat reference: Please use the form below
- We recommend that you include an e-mail address so that you can receive a transcript of your chat and so the library can send you any followup help.