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Find Homework (K-12) Resources: Evaluating Sources

Types of Information Sources:

When researching a topic, you need to investigate a variety of sources to gather information. Types of sources include:

  • books
  • reference books (dictionaries, encyclopedias)
  • periodicals (magazines, newspapers, journals)
  • websites, blogs, and social media

The information cycle is the progression of how information is distributed and published about a topic or following an event. Understanding the information cycle will help you to determine how much information you might find about your topic. 


ABCD's of Evaluating Sources


A = Author

  • After you find a source of information that you might want to use, think about the author(s) of the source.  Are the authors experts and qualified to write on the topic?  What are their credentials?  Are they affiliated with any organizations or a university?
  • Also, consider the publisher or source.  Is it reputable? 

B = Bias

  • Look for any bias in the information.  Does the information presented cover all sides of the topic in a neutral, objective manner?  What is the purpose of this information… to inform, teach, persuade, or sell? 

C = Content

  • Is the information relevant to your topic or does it deviate too much?  Is the readership level too simple or too sophisticated? Also, focus on the accuracy of the content.  Does the information match your understanding of the topic and can you verify the claims in other sources?  Compare its findings to those of other related articles.  Do not rely on only one source. 

D = Date

  • Consider when the information was published, updated, or revised.  Has the information become outdated?  Also, look at the date of the reference list provided.  Are those sources too old?

Related Resources:

Citing Sources

When you quote or paraphrase the idea of another person in your research paper, you must provide a proper citation.

Proper citations:

  • give credit to the author
  • enable others to locate the resource you cited
  • improve the credibility of your work, especially if you cited authoritative sources

If you use other people's ideas without properly giving them credit, you are committing plagiarism, which is a serious NSU honor code violation as well as a federal crime.

Citation Styles:

The format of a proper citation depends upon the citation style being used.  Most commonly, students are required to use APA 6th Edition or MLA. For APA 7th edition help, click here.  

For consistency, both of these styles provide specific standards for:

  • citing within the body of a paper (in text)
  • a bibliography or reference list at the end of a paper