In the research process, evaluating sources is vital.Consider the following questions in order to effectively evaluate and gain a more critical understanding of your sources.
Who created the item? What is his or her affiliation? What is his or her relationship to the information contained in the source?
Audience and Purpose
Who is the intended audience? Why was the item created?
Accuracy and Completeness
Is the evidence reliable? Are the important points covered? How does the source compare to other similar sources? What may have been left out?
Footnotes and Documentation
Are the author's sources in secondary and reference literature clearly identified with complete citations to allow you to find the original source yourself?
Perspective and Bias
How do the author's bias and perspective inform the arguments and evidence presented?
Adapted from NYU's Primary Sources LibGuide and The Information-Literate Historian by Jenny L. Presnell (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).