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Evaluate Your Sources

Evaluate websites and other sources of information for relevance, accuracy, authority, purpose, and timeliness.

Accuracy

Goal: Find a reliable source with complete, correct, and verifiable information.

Accuracy refers to the correctness, truthfulness, and overall excellence and quality of the information. To determine a source's accuracy and quality, ask the suggested questions listed below.

Is it Accurate?

Is it Accurate? Ask these questions:

  • Is the information logical, well-organized, and supported by evidence?
  • Is it a research study or other original source? Are research studies, expert(s) and/or original sources discussed within the body of the work? Are references cited? 
  • Has it been edited or peer-reviewed?
  • Can the information provided be verified in other sources?
  • Are there spelling errors, grammatical errors, or other problems that indicate a lack of quality control? What is the context? Does it make sense? Is it complete?

Tips

  • Can it be verified in other sources? Don't just follow the links; check unrelated sources to see if they are in general agreement. Make sure your sources aren't all just quoting each other. Check fact-checking sites; someone may have already determined the accuracy.
  • Is it unverified or fake news? If one statement on a web page is false, the rest is also suspect. Urban myths are often passed around as facts, and facts "everybody knows" may not be true. Look for the original source when possible. 
  • Is it peer-reviewed? The peer-review process used by many scholarly journals is designed to guarantee a certain amount of accuracy and quality in the publication of scholarly information. 

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000