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Evaluating Resources

Why is it Important to Evaluate Your Sources?

Resource evaluation is a vital part of beginning any project, whether academic or for personal knowledge.  As a researcher you will need to take an objective view of any source you are considering.  By checking for things like credibility, accuracy, and purpose before use you will be able to make an informed decision on whether a source is appropriate for your project.

But how do you know which type of resource is best for your project and which individual resources are the best to use?  This tutorial will demonstrate how to do just that.

What Happens When You Don't Evaluate?

There are many problems that can arise if you do not evaluate your resources.  The most damaging for academic writers is when a source is selected to support a topic but then the source turns out to be false. 

Here is an example of a recent case where the researcher falsified data to support his claim,  This falsified data was published in 8 papers (The Office of Research Integrity, 2016). 

What if you were researching this topic and used one of these papers as a source for your research project?  Now your research is also false.

This is an extreme case, but everyday people create new websites and publish information that is inaccurate, fabricated, and/or biased.  It is vital that you know how to evaluate information so that you can make informed decisions on the sources you choose to use both in your academic research but also in any research for personal knowledge you conduct.

The comic to the right illustrates what happens when someone decides to post made up information on Wikipedia and how fast the information can spread and be used by other authors as fact.

Need Help?

Need Help Evaluating Resources:
  • Make sure to discuss your resources with your professor
  • Confirm the resources you are planning to use match the requirements for your assignment
  • Ask a reference librarian for help

Where Citations Come From Comic

(xkcd Webcomics, n.d.)


The Office of Research Integrity. (2016). Case summary: Pastorino, John G. Retrieved from

xkcd Webcomics. (n.d.). Citogenesis [Comic]. Retrieved from

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