Skip to Main Content

COMM 3010: Communication Perspectives

Evaluating Sources - Considerations

Authorship - What authority does the author speak from?  

  • Biographical information, including position and experience
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Education and how the author is regarded in their field of study

Accuracy - What gives this information validation?  

  • How the data is organized 
  • Research methods used to gather and interpret the information 
  • Methodology appropriate for the topic
  • Can the study be duplicated 
  • Sources are noted and retrievable

Point of View or Bias - Check the URL to determine if the organization has a stake in the issue at hand 

  • If the information is from a corporation it will be presented in a positive light
  • Products produced or sold will be for advertisement
  • Political website determine if the information is from the opposition, etc.
  • Internet, due to its structure self publication is easy, allowing for a vast variety of points of views 

Knowledge of the Literature - This helps to evaluate the author's scholarship or knowledge of trends in their area of study

  • Bibliography
  • Information makes sense
  • Author discusses values or limitations of research

Currency - How timely is the information

  • Date of publication, authorship or historical record 
  • Library databases include subject headings, abstracts and index permanent and reliable information
  • Web information needs to be vetted
    • Possible investigative sources: 
    • Pay for Placement from Search for top space advertisement sellers 
    • Search Engine Showdown check the frequency of search engine is updates and how it finds information  written by Greg R. Notes. 

Publishing Body- Is this information screened through peer review

  • Document part of an official academic or scholarly web site 
  • If the website seems questionable 
    • Check the URL and if this organization is not recognized in your field of study
    • Identify the server with dnslookup and whois,
    • If it resides in an individuals' personal internet account (which should be approached with great caution) through Understanding and Decoding URLs


 (2016, November)  Evaluating Information from Johns Hopkins University's research tools. Retrieved from

Evaluating Resources

[Libncsu]. (2015, June 9). Evaluating Sources for Credibility [Video File]. Retrieved from

It is important to evaluate sources because anyone can write a web page, some sources are credible and others are not. This video discusses how to evaluate print and web sources. 

[iLearningServices]. (2011, June 3). Advanced Writing: Evaluating Sources [Video File]. Retrieved from

Evaluate sources, "Is it too good to be true?"

Quote from Evaluating Information from Johns Hopkins University's research tools.  All information, whether in print or by byte, needs to be evaluated by readers for authority, appropriateness, and other personal criteria for value. If you find information that is "too good to be true", it probably is. Never use information that you cannot verify. Establishing and learning criteria to filter information you find on the Internet is a good beginning for becoming a critical consumer of information in all forms. "Cast a cold eye" (as Yeats wrote) on everything you read. Question it. Look for other sources that can authenticate or corroborate what you find. Learn to be skeptical and then learn to trust your instincts.


 (2016, November)  Evaluating Information from Johns Hopkins University's research tools. Retrieved from

Additional Links