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Getting Started with Research


Evaluate your sources based on these criteria:

  • Currency: the timeliness of the information
    • When was the information published or posted? Has the information been revised or updated? Is the information current or out-of date for your topic? Are the links functional?
  • Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs
    • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question? Who is the intended audience? Is the information at an appropriate level? Have you looked at a variety of sources?
  • Authority: the source of the information
    • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given, and what are they? What are the author's qualifications?
  • Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content, and
    • Where does the information come from? Is it supported by evidence? Has it been reviewed? Can you verify any of the information in another source? Does the language or tone seem biased?
  • Purpose: the reason the information exists
    • What is the purpose of the information? Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions clear? Is the information fact /opinion /propaganda? Is it objective, impartial & unbiased?

Learn more about Fake News and evaluating sources with our Fake News Lib Guide


Thumbnail image that links to an interactive module titled Test Your Library Skills



Identifying Bias (Infographic)

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All text from the infographic above is included below for accessibility.

Is it biased? Recognizing and identifying bias in information sources. (Authored by Lora K. Kaiser and Dennis O’Connor of the 21st Century Information Fluency Project. Illinois Schools.)

Bias is when a statement reflects a partiality, preference, or prejudice for or against a person, object, or idea.


  • Who wrote and published the article?
  • Who benefits from the information?
  • Who have you also heard discuss this?
  • Who is this trying to appeal to?
  • Who else uses these terms/words?


  • What is the purpose of the site or article?
  • What are the verifiable facts?
  • What do the language/images tell you about the author’s opinion?
  • What does this make you feel?


  • When would you use this language?
  • When is it useful to use this language?
  • What would you use this article as evidence?
  • Has the article or resource been updated?


  • Where is the information coming from?
  • Where does the site or author get their funding?
  • Where do they get their evidence?
  • Where else do you see this story?
  • Where else is language like this used?


  • Why does the information exist?
  • Why did this get published?
  • Why does the article use the images/language it does?
  • Why are people influenced by this?
  • Why is this relevant?