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How do I evaluate my sources?

This section will teach you how to evaluate your sources so you can judge whether a source is suitable to use in your work.

By the end of this section, you should be able to:

  • Explain why it is important to evaluate your sources.
  • Recognise the key factors to consider when deciding whether to use a source.
  • Effectively evaluate whether a source is appropriate to use.

Choosing good sources

This short video explains what evaluating your sources means and how it can improve the quality of your work by helping you use better evidence.

Interactive Activity

Click the image below to access an interactive activity on evaluating your sources. There are some multiple-choice questions at different points during the activity to help reinforce your learning.

The activity explores how you can use the following four questions to evaluate a source:

  • Who was the author?
  • When was it written?
  • Is the content fair and unbiased?
  • Is it relevant and at an appropriate level?

You will learn why each of these factors is important, some of the signs to look for when deciding whether to use a source, and some top tips for the evaluation process.

Click this image to open a page with an interactive activity.

Evaluation checklist

Below you can download a checklist as a reminder of the evaluation considerations you have learned from this section. You can fill out this checklist as a tool when deciding whether to use a particular source.


  • Evaluating your sources is an essential part of the process of finding and using information.
  • It is important to consider who produced the information and whether you can trust their expertise.
  • In most cases, you should use sources that are as up-to-date as possible.
  • Think about why a source was produced and whether this might have affected the ideas/ information that it presents. Look out for signs of bias that might impact the reliability of the source.
  • Make sure that your sources are relevant and appropriate for how you are using them.

Adsetts Library
Collegiate Library

Sheffield Hallam University
City Campus, Howard Street
Sheffield S1 1WB