A major part of the research process includes evaluating the sources of information you locate in your searches. In other words, this step includes searching for relevant information sources and deciding whether to keep and include those sources for your research or discard them in favor of newer, more reliable, higher quality sources.
In fact, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) has determined this to be a crucial stage in developing information literacy skills in their Information Literacy Framework, Competency Standards for Higher Education: “The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.” You can read more about the evaluation standard and outcomes on the Standard Three page.
While other schools, universities, and libraries may present slight variations or additions, generally it is agreed upon that the basic components of evaluation criteria include the following:
Consider the following when evaluating a source for bias:
Be sure to determine what types of information resources are required for your research needs. Review your assignment or research criteria:
Are you required to use original/primary research articles or is it acceptable to cite secondary articles that summarize or discuss research findings? See our Primary and Secondary Resources page.
Do you need scholarly journal articles? Must those articles be from peer-reviewed journals? See our Scholarly and Peer Reviewed Journals page.
Is it acceptable to use magazine or newspaper articles? See our page on Academic and Popular Resources.
The following resources provide criteria and tools for evaluating the quality of a research article: