Bristol Community College

Bristol Community College

Evaluating Sources Checklist

The Publisher

  • What type of press are they? Academic? Commercial? Professional/Scholarly Organization? Vanity?
  • Does the publisher use a peer-review process for accepting items for publication?
  • Find out more about a publisher by using the following sources:
    • Writer's Market (REF PN 161 W93 2008)
    • the publisher's web site 
    • Magazines for Libraries (REF Z 6941 M23 2005)
    • Ulrich's Periodicals Directory (REF Z 6941 U5 2005 V.1-4)

The Author

  • Who wrote this work? What are his or her qualifications?
  • Find out what else this person has written. Do searches in SAILS, Expanded Academic ASAP, or Online Reference Databases specific to the subject area of the work.
    • Lots of articles in the same publication on a wide variety of unrelated topics may indicate that the person is a staff writer, and not an expert in the area.
  • Read the author information on the book jacket and note the writer's institutional affiliation in articles. Find biographical information about the author using Biography Resource Center w/ Marquis Who's Who, Scribner Writer's Series or searching the author's institutional web site. If the author is an organization visit the organization's web site to learn more about them.

The Evidence and Organization

  • Does the work have a bibliography? Does it seem comprehensive or just a selected list?
  • Does the author cite sources within the text to provide evidence? How reliable and authoritative are these sources?
  • Does the work have a table of contents and index?

The Reputation or Contribution to the Field

The Publication Date

If your topic is very current or new developments happen frequently:

  • Is the information current enough for the topic?
  • Are the cited references current?