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Liberal Arts: Source Evaluation

What is Source Evaluation?

"Source evaluation is the process of critically evaluating information in relation to a given purpose in order to determine if it is appropriate for the intended use" (How to do Research). Using high quality resources will ensure that you find the most accurate, up-to-date information available on a topic. Working with reliable sources will allow you to construct your own ideas and research with confidence. 

Whether you are working with research on the worldwide web, or directly through the Kettering University Library, it is important to evaluate each source you use. The librarians at Kettering University have constructed a checklist that can be used to review sources, and provide you with a clear idea of what to look for in a quality source. Please see the sidebar or click here for a copy of the checklist to view online, or print as a PDF to work from as you complete your research! 


Source Evaluation Learning Videos

Information Literacy Videos

This short video series from Linkedin Learning covers resource evaluation basics in bite-sized clips including:

We Can Help

If you find yourself unsure about the trustworthiness or scholarliness of a source, the Kettering University librarians can help! 

Contact us:

Full Source Evaluation Guide

To view our full Source Evaluation Guide, please click here

Source Evaluation Checklist

Source Evaluation Checklist 



 Not Sure


 Can you identify and locate the author’s credentials?




 Is the author the original creator of the work? (if not, it may be considered a secondary source)




 Does the author have experience in this area or other published works on this topic?




 Is the publisher a reputable source (scholarly journal, scholarly organization, etc.)?



Is there a publication date present?       
 Is the information relevant for the topic covered, based on publication date?      
 Has the author published other recent materials?      
Does the source cite current information in the bibliography?      
 Does the author present evidence for their work?      
Is the information consistent with other reputable sources on the topic?       
 If new/differing ideas are presented, are they backed up with evidence and sources?      
Do the conclusions match the information presented?      



 Is the source free from any attempts to sell/promote an idea or product?




 Is the source independent of any sponsored political or special interest organizations?




 Does the work have a mission statement or clear explanation of purpose?




 Is the source purely educational?






 Would a different perspective affect the results in a negative way? 




 Does the author work/teach in the field or department they are discussing in the source?




 Is the source free from obvious biases, such as only acknowledging findings that support the author’s perspective?




 Does the source present information in a well-balanced manner, with information from multiple viewpoints?






To ensure your source is scholarly and reputable, most or all of the boxes should be checked as “yes”. If you are not sure about one of the areas, this is an opportunity to investigate a bit further! If you are unable to identify the answers after further investigation, this may be an indication that it does not meet the requirements and another source should be chosen in its place. 

If you need further assistance in locating or evaluating sources, please feel free to contact the library at, or via our live chat on the library homepage, by phone at (810) 762- 9598, or stop by in person and ask to speak with a librarian! 

Checklist PDF

Evaluating Online Sources

How to Evaluate Web Resources Infographic

Library Homepage

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