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Source Evaluation

Lesson Plan, Checklist & Quiz

Download PDFs of the lesson plan, Source Evaluation Checklist and quiz can be found here.

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education

The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education is a set of frames, or core principles, designed with the following in mind:

The Framework opens the way for librarians, faculty, and other institutional partners to redesign instruction sessions, assignments, courses, and even curricula; to connect information literacy with student success initiatives; to collaborate on pedagogical research and involve students themselves in that research; and to create wider conversations about student learning, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and the assessment of learning on local campuses and beyond. 

(Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education)

This lesson plan was designed to reflect the ACRL Framework, and specifically addresses the following 2 of the 6 frames:

Frame 1: Authority Is Constructed and Contextual

Students will explore the author's credentials and identify which areas of a resource can lead to further investigation and answer the questions on the checklist related to authority. 

Frame 6: Searching as Strategic Exploration

Students will be able to match search result expectations with actual results and be able to use the source evaluation checklist to objectively analyze results to determine if they are a good fit for their research goals. 

For more information about the ACRL Framework, please see visit the ACRL website or see the attached document below. 

Lesson Plan Resources

The library has created a series of 5 videos addressing each of the concepts on the Source Evaluation Checklist to assist with this lesson plan. These ideas can be viewed as a series, or individually. It is recommended that students watch the video applying to the concept their "group" is assigned before they begin the assignment. 

These videos are housed on the homepage of this guide or can be found by clicking here!

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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