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Maple Woods - Evaluating Sources

Determine whether the sources you use for research are reliable and appropriate for your paper or speech

An Essential Part of Research

It is essential that you evaluate your sources as you find them.

Navigate through this guide to find evaluation information for books, articles, and websites.

It's Important to Evaluate Your Sources

You may think . . .

"It's published, so I can use it." Well, maybe. If it's published by a legitimate publisher (the books and magazines in the library are!) or if it appears in a database, the information is reliable. But it might not be a good source because of its focus, publication date, or type (for example, a popular magazine if your instructor wants you to use a scholarly journal).

"It came up on the first page of results when I searched the database." Hold on! Many databases put their results in date order. What comes up first are the most recent articles. They may not be the ones that are best for your research.

"I did a search on Google, and it was one of the first sites, and Google has relevancy ranking." Slow down! Searching on the Web brings you face-to-face with the need for evaluating sources for reliability AND appropriateness to the project. Look at those sites critically!  

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