Evaluating Print & Other Resources

(books, e-books, online magazines, newspapers, journal articles, government publications, etc.)

Areas and Questions to Consider

Authority & Credibility
  • Who publishes the book or journal?
  • Who is the author(s) of the book or article?
  • What makes the author(s) and authority on this subject?
  • Does the author(s) cite his / her experience / credentials?
  • Does the book or article contain footnotes? If so, does material taken from other sources appear to be fully credited?
Scope and Relevance
  • Who is the intended audience - general, specialized readership, scholars, etc.?
  • What is sthe level of the material - basic, advanced, etc.?
  • Is the material appropriate and useful for your purposes?
  • What time period is covered?
  • What geographical area is covered?
  • How comprehensive and specific is the information?
Bias and Accuracy
  • How is the information presented - fact, opinion, propaganda, etc.?
  • If presented as fact, is it accurate?
  • Is there a bias - cultural, political, religious, etc.?
  • If so, is the bias clearly stated?
Currency and Timeliness
  • How recent is the book or article?
  • How important is this to you and / or your topic?
  • What was the quality of the research methodology?
  • Did it use accepted methodologies for its field, insofar as you know?
  • What is the validity?
  • Is the article clearly written and well-organized?
  • How does the book or article fit into its discipline discourse?
  • Is new research being reported or is the author reviewing previously conducted research?
  • Does the author agree or disagree with the majority of other scholars in the discipline?
  • Is this the first article of its kind within its discipline?
copyright Aline Soules 2010
under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States