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ENGL 368: African Literature (Spring 2020): Evaluating Sources

Library instruction guide | Prof. Ola Nwabara


Read carefully each section and follow the steps to learn how to evaluate a source. If you have any question please contact the librarian. 

Step #1: Read the slides

Step #2: Watch these videos 



Step #3: Get familiar with these strategies to help you choose your sources

  • Check for previous work
    • Has someone already fact-checked this source? 
  • Find the original source
    • Who originally published the information and why? Find the original source of the information before evaluating it.
  • Read laterally
    • What do other sources say about this publication and author? What a source says about itself may not be trustworthy.
  • Circle back
    • How can you revise your search to yield better results? Use what you’ve learned to start over with new search terms.
  • Check your own emotions
    • We are more likely to believe something that stirs strong emotions. Be aware of your own biases as you fact-check. 

Step #4: Determine if the source is reliable or not

The following exercise is to apply what you have learned. Use the checklist provided below to examine the sources of information and determine their reliability and credibility. 

Once you finish going through the checklist, answer the two questions below for each source of information. 

  1. How many checks does this source deserve? ______
  2. Is it reliable? Yes or No
  3. Would you use this as a source for a research paper in our class? Explain why or why not below. Be sure to give specific examples. Use the checklist if you need help.