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The Curious Teenager’s Guide to Islam: How to Evaluate Resources Help!

Introduction to Islam for NYC High School Students

Evaluating Your Sources

It's important to develop skills to critically evaluate books, articles, websites and other materials before including them in research papers. This page is intended to be a quick introduction, or "what to" consider when evaluating or selecting resources. The need to evaluate resources is nothing new and is actually quite common - there are researchers and fact checkers for news papers, tv shows, movies and documentaries, as well as books. However, the purpose and use of particular resources by an author can be manipulated to prove their point, a current example is fake news. The current discussion around "fake news" is about the use, or lack there of evaluated resources. It is important to be aware of the context of which a book, article, or news report was written and by whom. These topics are addressed through the evaluation of a resource's currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose of resources which can be applied to scholarly research, the news, or finding the accurate information about your own personal hobbies and interests. This LibGuide for example provides resources intended to encourage the critical evaluation of stereotypes directed at the American Muslim community in the United States and the variety and availability of resources available to do so.


Criteria Questions to Ask
  • Does your topic require current information?  If so, when was the source written and published?
  • Has the information been revised or updated recently?
  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?  Is the level too elementary or advanced for your needs?
  • Who is the author (person, company, or organization) and what are the author's credentials and affiliations?
  • If a website, does the URL provide insight?  examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Can the information be verified through another source?
  • Has the information been reviewed?  Is there a bibliography?
  • What is the reason for the source's existence?  To inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
  • Who is the intended audience? 
  • Does the point of view appear objective or biased?

Table taken from Northwestern's Evaluating Sources LibGuide

Evaluating Sources with Western University Libraries!

Visual illustration of CRAAP created by Western University Libraries

Nerd Squirrel reviews resources at Standford Uni. Libraries