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Once you have a list of search results on a particular topic, determining which source will be relevant to your project can be challenging. Whether a source is relevant will depend on your topic, subject area, and assignment requirements. But here are a few general tips for selecting sources.
1. Scan the titles of sources, looking for your keywords
2. Read the abstract
3. Find other sources by consulting the references/works cited pages of one good source
There are many different methods of source evaluation available using catchy acronyms like the CRAAP test and SIFT. Regardless of which method you use, what is important is that you always need to consider the source of your information as it relates to your research project and assignment.
Some criteria to consider when evaluating sources are
Purpose (yours and the author's)
How does the source add to your research project?
Is the author's information unbiased?
Does the information relate to your topic and research questions?
Does the source fulfill the source type requirements (popular vs. scholarly, primary vs. secondary) for your assignment?
Credentials (of the author, sponsor, and publisher)
Is the author qualified to write on this topic?
Is the publisher/sponsor reputable?
When was the information published or last updated?
Is the source current enough for my topic? (Note: not all research projects require the most up-to-date information)
Is the information correct and reliable?
Does the author/creator provide references to sources?
Who is the intended audience?
Is the audience appropriate for your project?
Evaluating Web Sources Quickly with Lateral Reading
Watch this video to learn about one method for evaluating web sources called lateral reading. Instead of just examining the source itself (internally), this method asks you to search for information about your source across multiple websites (laterally).