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Evaluating your Sources

There are several approaches to evaluating information sources. The Library has provided links to web sites which will provide you with varied tips on evaluating information found in books, journal articles, and on the web. You may view the Evaluating Resources links immediately below, or have a look at a 3.41-minute video, or a list of Quick Tips in sections further down.

Evaluating Resources

Video: Is this an appropriate source

Quick Tips

One way of critically evaluating sources found on the Internet is to subject them to the PARCA Test. 


Why does this resource exist?

  • What is the purpose? Is it to teach, sell, promote, entertain?
  • Do the author(s) make their intentions clear? Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, or personal biases?
  • Is the information provided by the resource fact, opinion?
  • Does it have a variety of viewpoints and arguments? Do your sources reflect different genders, ages, ethnic groups, languages, nationalities, disciplines, etc.?


Who wrote/produced/published the resource?

  • Is the source published by an academic publisher or a reputable organization?
  • Is an author clearly identified? What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic? Degrees, professional designations, professional accomplishments and experience are indicators of qualifications.
  • If it is a website, does the url reveal anything about the source (.com, .gov, .edu, .org)


Does the resource meet your needs?

  • Is the information related to your topic?
  • Does it support your viewpoint or provide an alternate one?
  • Is the information and discussion at an appropriate level? Who is the intended audience (general population, scholars, practitioners etc.)?


How current is the resource?

  • When was the resource published or posted?
  • Is this the most current version of this information available?
  • Has the information been revised / updated? Is there proof of last update, publication date?
  • Is currency of information a concern for your topic?


Is the information in the resource reliable?

  • Are the author’s claims supported by evidence?
  • Has the content been reviewed by other experts? Is it a peer-reviewed resource?
  • Are the language and tone biased?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?

 Here’s a PARCA handout you can keep.