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History: Research Paper Basics 2024: Evaluating Information Resources

This guide is designed to help history students successfully complete their next research paper assignment

Critically evaluating and analyzing your resources is a very important step in the research process because it helps ensure that your scholarship is based on sound evidence. On this page you will find resources to help you evaluate your sources.

Criteria for Evaluating Sources

It is important to evaluate all sources you plan to use. Before deciding to use a source, be sure to ask the following questions.

Currency and Relevance: Is the source current and relevant to your topic?

Author Authority: Is the creator of the material an expert in the field?

Audience and Purpose: Who is the intended audience for this material and why was it created?

Accuracy and Completeness: How does this source compare to similar sources? Is it reliable and thorough?

Documentation: Did the author provide complete and accurate citations for their sources? Can you easily locate the sources cited by the author?

Bias: What biases might the creator have and how do these shape the arguments and evidence they present?

**This list is based on a list found in The Information-Literate Historian by Jenny Presnell.

The Information Literate Historian

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Websites

How to Use Wikipedia for Academic Research

Ulrich's Web