Evaluating Resources for All Your Research Needs

Are you currently searching for sources for a research project? Are you sure that the sources you are considering using are authoritative, free of bias, current, and verifiable? Take a moment to consider the following when choosing resources for your research:

1. Authorship and Authority
(Gibaldi 41-45)
Author Credential information:
[Note: In some cases, an organization or corporation may be responsible for a work.]

  • Educational degrees such as PhD, MD, etc.
  • Affiliations such as schools, research facilities or other organizations; and work experience.

Publisher and publication information:

  • Scholarly or peer reviewed journal articles undergo a higher level of screening by experts in the field.
  • Publishers may be associated with educational institutions or national professional organizations.

2. Accuracy and Verifiability (Gibaldi 41-45)
 Bias or point of view

  • Look at the author or publication affiliations for potential sources of bias.
  • Note the wording, tone, and how thoroughly differing opinions are explored.


  • Determine if the author has citations backing up any claims within a work.
  • Consult other sources to verify claims being made in the article.

3. Currency (Gibaldi 41-45)

  • Certain types of information have a shorter shelf-life than others. An older article on current trends in heart surgery would not be a credible source. However, an older English literature article could be a good source.
  • The date of publication may have an effect on the point of view or bias.

Gibaldi, Joseph.  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed.

New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2003. Print.

If you have any further questions, be sure to contact a reference librarian in person at the Reference Desk, via email at: reference@emmanuel.edu, or via phone at: (617) 735-9927.

–          Posted by the Reference Department


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