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Recommended library resources for research in religion.

Evaluating Information Sources

ABC's of Evaluating Information Sources
(websites, journal articles, books, etc.)


  • To whom is the source directed – children, adults, students; a certain ethnicity, gender or political affiliation?
  • Is it understandable by the layperson, or is it highly technical requiring specialized knowledge?


  • Is the author of the source listed?
  • Can you determine his/her expertise or credentials?
  • Is contact information given – phone number, address, e-mail?
  • With what organization is he/she associated?


  • Does the language, tone, or treatment of its subject give the source a particular slant or bias?
  • Is the source objective?
  • Is it designed to sway opinion, sell you something, or simply make an argument? Organizational, institutional, or corporate affiliation can often be a good gauge of bias.


  • Is the source up-to-date? If it's a site, does it have working links?
  • Is a date given for when it was created and, in the case of online sources, last updated?
  • Is the topic current?


  • Is the source an in-depth study of the topic going several pages deep, or is it a superficial, single-page look at the subject?
  • Are statistics and sources properly cited and referenced?
  • In the case of websites, does it offer unique information not found anywhere else, e.g., print sources or peer-reviewed journal publications?

Evaluating a Website


Help pages are available for any search engine or directory that you use - take the time to look at them, it will save you time and frustration!

How to Evaluate a Website

‚ÄčExamples of good websites:

Examples of bad websites:

By using common sense and the criteria listed in the sites provided above, you should easily avoid the bad, bogus, false and misleading information that lurks on the web and elsewhere!