Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Mechanical Engineering Technology

Evaluating Information Sources

The World Wide Web (WWW) and the OC Library collection make it is easy to obtain information. It is more difficult to identify reliable sources.  Evaluate your information sources carefully to be sure you've selected material that is both trustworthy and appropriate for your assignnment.

Use this checklist to help you evaluate your sources:

                   .  Scholarly Academic Publications Popular Publications
Author Written by an expert in the field of study (an academic or trained specialist) Written by those without expertise in the field (a member of the public or journalist) or no author is stated 
Date Date of publication is provided Popular publications, especially WWW publications, often do not give a date of publication
Publisher Colleges/Universities, professional associations, scholarly publishers + research institutes    Commercial for-profit publishers or members of the public
Purpose    To report on experiments, theories, case studies + other research    To sell advertised products, inform, promote a point of view or entertain
Editing Peer review by experts in the field Review by a generalist (a magazine editor) or no review
Documentation Sources used in the author's research are cited in a reference list or footnotes    Sources are rarely cited or are inaccurate
Other Accurate spelling + grammar, few advertisements, logical + well written

Spelling + grammar errors may occur, many advertisements, poor or variable writing quality 


(Modified, original source UBC Library) 

For more information:

Evaluating Video

Click on the image below to learn more about evaluating information sources


Evaluating Checklist


  • Is the document directly related to your research topic?
  • Is the information at correct level for your assignment?


  • Is the information from a scholarly peer-reviewed source?
  • Who is the author(s)? 
  • Is the author a recognized authority in this field?
  • What are author's credentials?
  • Is this author cited by other researchers in this area?
  • What is the authors affiliation?
  • Is contact information for the author provided?
  • Who is the publisher and are they know for publishing information on the subject?


  • Date of publication?
  • Is information current and up-to-date?


  • Is the the research methodology employed by the author provided?
  • Is it a sound search methodology employed by other research in the field?
  • Does the author include a literature review?
  • Is there a reference list of cited works?


  • Does the author provide a clearly reasoned argument supported by identifiable logic, facts and data?
  • Does the author consider alternate interpretations of the evidence?


  • Does the author appear to have any identifiable bias?
  • Has the author omitted and relevant information or data that other people writing on the subject have included?
  • Is the author affiliated with a group, business or organization that is selling something?
  • Where did the author's research funding come from?

Citations & Reference List

  • Has the author included citations to the information that they have used to create their article?
  • Does the author provide a Reference List for the citations used in the article?

This site is maintained by the librarians of Okanagan College Library.
If you wish to comment on an individual page, please contact that page's author.
If you have a question or comment about Okanagan College Library's LibGuides site as a whole, please contact the site administrator.