Skip to Main Content

English 201 Research in the Disciplines

Evaluating Sources: Overview

Locating sources relevant to your research is an important first step. Nevertheless, not all sources are equally valid and reliable. It is therefore necessary to evaluate the quality of information in the sources you identify before choosing to integrate them into your research paper.

This page will introduce you to the basics of source evaluation in different contexts.

  • Watch the video, "Evaluating Sources."
  • Complete the tutorial, "Choosing the Best Web Source."
  • Review "Techniques for Evaluating Internet Sources: Lateral Reading"
  • Review "Techniques for Evaluating Any Kind of Source"
  • Review the "ACCORD" Model for Evaluating Your Sources"

Video: Evaluating Sources

Tutorial: Choosing the Best Web Source

Techniques for Evaluating Internet Sources: Lateral Reading

The Internet can be a great place for information on endless topics. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that anyone can put information on the Web—it is unregulated, unmonitored, unchecked, unedited, and of widely differing reliability. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the credibility, authorship, timeliness and integrity of the information you find. Fact checkers use an effective research strategy called "lateral reading" to evaluate online sources quickly and with more accuracy to determine if a source is credible and trustworthy.

Evaluating Online Sources: Lateral Reading vs Vertical Reading

Click Restraint:  An important part of lateral reading is click restraint. When you practice click restraint, you resist the urge to click on the first search results. Instead you scan a search results page, looking at things like the title, source description, and featured sections, before deciding what sources to examine. When fact checkers exercise click restraint, they recognize that some sources may not be the most reliable ones and look for trusted coverage. Watch this short video from the Stanford History Education Group to learn how click restraint can lead to better online information.

Techniques for Evaluating Any Kind of Source

Techniques for Evaluating Sources

Use the ACCORD Method for Source Evaluation


© , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers websites to or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.