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Note: The currency standard will differ depending on the discipline.
Qualifications or credentials of the author, editor, contributors
Is the material primary or secondary?
Publisher’s quality/purpose? (Do they publish reputable material?)
Are submissions peer reviewed?
What kind of information is the source intended to convey?
What topics are covered? For what period of time?
How detailed is the source?
How complete is it? Are there any noticeable omissions?
What is the source’s purpose? (What is the author trying to accomplish through the work?)
Does the content seem credible? (well-written, well organized, logically presented)
To what extent does the argument rely on evidence and to what extent does it rely on opinion?
Is the evidence verifiable? (sources clearly attributed or original research methodology explained)
Is the information presented in an objective manner? (All sides of an issue presented; no logical fallacies)
Is the source internally consistent?
How does source fit in with other sources in the field? (Does it reference other reputable/authoritative sources? Does it build upon the contributions of others/current knowledge? Is it compatible with known information or explain why it is not compatible?)
General assessment strategies:
Scan table of contents
Review help section
Scan title page
Scan root page
Read about/scope information
Scan site map
Review the list of publications/sources included
Determine the vendor/source
Read author’s bio
Read author’s bio
Developed by Sara Lowe and Karen Wallace; informed by Libraries Linking Idaho course on evaluating reference sources