P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation by librarian Ellen Carey (2018), Santa Barbara City College, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The process of evaluating a source includes examining the source itself and examining other sources by:
The questions below will help you think critically during the source evaluation process:
Purpose: How and why the source was created.
Relevance: The value of the source for your needs.
Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information.
Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information.
Expertise: The authority of the authors and the source.
Newness: The age of the information.
1Based on Caulfield, Mike. "Four Moves and a Habit." Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, 2017.
No source is truly free of bias. Sometimes, you have to use a notably biased source to present other opinions / points of view. Make sure to reference that you understand this about the source, so your readers are aware. For example, let's say you are writing about gun rights and need to use the NRA's website as a source to reference the organization's mission and work. You could indicate, for example, "While the NRA is a well-known advocate for gun rights..." before proceeding. You don't want your reader to discredit your argument because of your use of biased sources. Make your context known and be mindful that your readers are looking for holes.