Evaluating Academic Sources

How you can verify and validate sources

Source evaluation is the process of critically evaluating information in relation to your EE in order to determine if it is appropriate for your research question.

Understanding how to assess the credibility of the information you come across in your EE research is essential.

As your EE is an academic research paper you need to ensure you are using a range of quality resources. These will vary from subject to subject but ensuring your sources are credible is important across all subjects.

Image: Hunk, Anna. Unsplash, 2019.

The following questions can be used to help you evaluate each source:

  • Who wrote it? Is it scholarly or non-scholarly?

  • When was it written and/or published? Is it up to date?

  • Does it contain any evidence or information that you can check?

  • Do you have other sources that support the content of this source?

  • Is it biased or impartial and does this matter for this source? (For example, advertising material on a website is expected to be biased while a newspaper article should be more objective.)

  • What was the purpose of the publication?

Remember that you can ask your EE supervisor for help and support.

The following video gives you more information about evaluating academic sources for essays and assignments. Give the C.R.A.A.P. test a try! 🙂

With the current situation due to COVID-19 you may be finding it difficult to access physical library resources and books.

Therefore, you may need to rely on Internet research more than you typically should for your EE. There is a kind of ‘hierarchy’ of domain names that can be used as a general guide of reliability with education (or .edu) websites usually being the most reliable.

.edu stands for education

.ac stands for academic

.gov stands for government

.org stands for organisation

.com stands for commercial

.net stands for network

Credible sources lead to credible academic writing.