Skip to Main Content

*Get Started with Research*

Easy to follow guide on essential steps of the research process: Choosing and refining a topic, creating effective search strategies, finding books and articles, evaluating information and more!

Tips for Evaluating Sources

How are you supposed to find the trustworthy sources when you can't automatically accept the information you are retrieving as credible, accurate, or unbiased?  While  you may not be a subject expert in the area you are researching, there are a number of basic things to look for that can help you evaluate the credibility of your information sources.  After finding a source that is relevant to your topic, it's time to begin your detective work.  The criteria of the TRAAPS test will help you to decide whether your sources are credible. 

Timeliness: Does your research topic require current information? When was the content produced/written/posted? Has it been revised or updated?

Relevance: Is the info relevant to your topic or answer your question? Does it add anything to what you already have or is it more of the same?

Authority: Who is the author/publisher/source? Are there any connections/credentials that make this group or person an expert … or possibly biased?  *Practice Lateral Reading

Accuracy: Does the information appear to be accurate? Is it supported by evidence clearly marked with citations/references?

Purpose: Why was the information published (who is the intended audience)? What opinions, if any, are expressed? Is the source trying to sell you something: a product, a service, even an idea? Is there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal bias?

Self-bias: Identify your own emotions, opinions and experience surrounding a topic. How might your “self-bias” influence your evaluation of a source?

*Practice Lateral Reading: To fully evaluate a source/publisher/author, open a new tab and search the source on the internet. Take into account what others are saying about the author, organization, and information.


Source: Central Connecticut State University Elihu Burritt Library Guide to Evaluating Sources