When doing research, you should use a variety of sources such as books, articles from newspapers, magazines, or journals, and websites.
Evaluating sources is an important skill, much of which is detective work. It is tempting to accept whatever you find first, but learning how to evaluate effectively is a skill you need both for your course papers and for your life. (Adapted from OWL at Purdue's Evaluting Sources)
Tips for Evaluating Sources
Checking for signs of bias
Does the author or publisher endorse political or religious views that could affect objectivity?
Is the author or publisher associated with a special-interest group, such as Greenpeace or the National Rifle Association, that might present only one side of an issue?
Are alternative views presented and addressed? How fairly does the author treat opposing views?
Does the author’s language show signs of bias?
Assessing an argument
What is the author’s central claim or thesis?
How does the author support this claim—with relevant and sufficient evidence or with just a few anecdotes or emotional examples?
Are statistics consistent with those you encounter in other sources? Have they been used fairly? Does the author explain where the statistics come from? (It is possible to “lie” with statistics by using them selectively or by omitting mathematical details.)
Are any of the author’s assumptions questionable?
Does the author consider opposing arguments and refute them persuasively?
Tips for Evaluating resources from: Research & Documentation by Dianne Hacker and Barbara Fister, Gustavus Adolphus College http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/resdoc5e/tips-for-evaluating-sources.htm retrieved 8/28/2014
Evaluating Sources for Credibility
When to Cite
Why Do I Need to Cite My Sources?
When you write a research paper, you will start by reading the research that other have done before you. In your paper you will mention (or "cite") the sources you have consulted. At the end of the paper you will include a bibliography or works cited section, an alphabetical list of citations that contain all the information that readers and/or your instructor will need to locate these resources.