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Source Evaluation

Lesson Plan Overview

This lesson plan was designed to be taught either by a librarian OR a professor. A basic understanding of the library homepage and the Search Everything Box is required to teach the course. 

If you are a professor and would like to set up a library consultation before using the lesson plan in your class, the librarians can go over the library website with you and help you prep to teach the lesson plan!

If you would like to schedule an instruction session with a librarian to teach in your class, please contact the library at

<<<< Downloadable copies of both the lesson plan, source evaluation checklist and quiz are provided to the left.

Lesson Plan

Learning Objective:

Students will practice using criteria to evaluate the authority, objectivity/purpose, privilege/bias, currency and accuracy of sources based on the Source Evaluation Checklist. They will be able to identify where scholarly/peer-reviewed sources can be found on the library website, and key areas of focus to answer the questions on the checklist. Students are given the opportunity to evaluate a source relevant to their topic/assignment, and ask questions. 

Note: The materials needed and the design of the lesson plan reflect a virtual setting. However, the lesson can be adjusted accordingly to be taught in person. 

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

  • A computer/tablet

  • Access to Zoom/Google Meet/Blackboard Collaborate, etc.

  • Copy of the Source Evaluation Checklist (can be shared in print, via URL, or in chat)

Activity Summary:

  • Spend 5 minutes showing the library website and basic overview (Search Everything Box, databases and journals on the left, etc.). This assignment will be utilizing the Search Everything Box. 

    • Identify a topic

    • Use Search Everything to search for a topic

    • Show how to use narrowers (date, scholarly/peer-reviewed, article or e-book, etc.)

  • Pass out or share the source evaluation checklist via chat in Google Meet, Zoom, etc. 

  • Break students into 5 groups, each to mirror one section of the checklist. However, each student will work individually. Briefly discuss each of the 5 sections without spending too much time on this, as the assignment is meant to challenge students and identify their knowledge level to better help them. 

  • OPTIONAL: Have each group watch the short, pre-recorded video overview explaining the concept addressed in their section. This will add approximately 5 minutes to the lesson. These videos can be found at the bottom of this page or on the homepage of this guide

  • Have students conduct a search in the Search Everything Box of their topic and choose a source of interest. It is recommended that each student choose a journal article as the source type for consistency in checklist usage. 

  • Spend 5 minutes looking over the questions in their section of the checklist and answering them based on the source they choose from Search Everything. Encourage students to take note of where they were able to locate answers to the checklist questions. 

  • Identify takeaways: Call on each group to identify one specific area that was helpful in answering the questions in their section of the checklist. If student participation is low, jump into an example for the group. For example, for Authority, clicking the author’s name in a journal article to identify their credentials and other works they have published. For Objectivity/Purpose, identifying the abstract/introduction. For Privilege/Bias, identifying results in the conclusions that didn’t meet the author’s expectations. For Currency, showing that the bibliography has recent publications in it. For Accuracy, see if the results match other information you can find on the topic. 

  • Spend 15-20 minutes discussing these results and encourage students to complete the checklist for the source they found if they plan to use it in their homework, or, use the checklist for the sources they encounter as they complete their homework. 


  • Professors can choose to have students complete a short quiz to test their understanding of the topic after completing the discussion. A PDF of the quiz is attached, it can be taken below, or a direct link to the quiz to share with students can be found here: Link to Quiz

Total time: Approximately 30 minutes

Source Evaluation Quiz

Library Homepage

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