Skip to main content
Subject Guides

Centre for Applied Human Rights

Evaluate what you've found

Evaluate what you've found

Once you have found some interesting sources to use in your research, it's important that you evaluate each of them. This means deciding whether they are trustworthy, reliable and of good enough quality for an academic assignment.

The questions below will help you to determine whether a source should be considered trustworthy.


What should you look out for?

Who are the authors? Individuals? Experts? Companies?

Who published it?

Why is this important?

Look out for bias and opinion pieces e.g. a company report that doesn't acknowledge the poor working conditions of its employees.


What should you look out for?

When was it published? Recent? Dated?

Why is this important?

On the whole you will need the most current information to answer your question.


What should you look out for?

How was the research conducted?

Is it representative?

How can you use it to answer your need?

Why is this important?

If it’s a piece of research, how did they conduct it? Were the method and sample size appropriate and representative?

Will it support points you are making?


What should you look out for?

What is the information?

Is it useful to your project?

Why is this important?

It needs to relate to your question – try to keep a focus on the question not just the general topic.


What should you look out for?

Where did you find the information: website, blog, book, journal or database?

Where was the research conducted?

Why is this important?

Always try to get your information from reputable sources e.g. textbooks, journals. Research conduced in other countries may not be relevant.


What should you look out for?

Why was it written?

What are the motivations behind it?

Why is this important?

Look out for bias – see also ‘Who?’

Cornell University's Criteria for Evaluating Information

Cornell University Library has an excellent webpage for critically analysing information sources which includes:

Author Who is the author and what are their credentials?

Date of publication When was the resource published and is it out-of-date for your own research needs?

Edition or revision Is it a first-edition or has it subsequently been revised by the author?

Publisher If it is a university publisher, then the work will likely be of academic standard.

Title of journal Is the journal scholarly or professional?

Audience Who is the intended audience of this work?

Objective reasoning Is the information covered fact, opinion or propaganda?

Coverage You need to make sure that you read widely so that you have a variety of viewpoints on a particular topic.