Skip to Main Content

Library Research: An Introduction

An introduction to the research process and the library's resources.

Introduction & Learning Objectives

When doing research for projects and papers, it is important to find sources that are reliable and appropriate for your assignment.  This is true for all of your sources, including books, articles, and particularly websites. Often the quality of your research project is directly related to the quality of your sources. You should evaluate the quality of a source (book, article, website, etc.) before you start writing.

After reviewing the material in this section, students will be able to

  • Examine and compare information from different sources in order to evaluate the currency, reliability, authority, and purpose or point of view.

Evaluating Sources: A Checklist


  • How recent is the information?
  • How recently has the website been updated?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?


  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion?  Is it balanced?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?


  • Who is the creator or author?
  • What are the credentials?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?
  • Are there advertisements on the website?

Purpose/Point of View

  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Is it biased?
  • Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?