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Evaluating Sources: Home


Welcome to FNU's Evaluating Sources Guide!

Here you will find information to help you use and evaluate sources (references) as you search for information, whether it be for your own knowledge, for an assignment, or to advise someone else. Use the tabs at the top to go to different sections.


The sources you use in any type of argument reflect on what you are trying to say. You use sources in your writing to support and give context to your own knowledge. Using a source that is not considered reliable renders the rest of your argument invalid. Deciding what is reliable and what isn't requires more than following a few simple guidelines. It requires critical thinking to fully evaluate the information that is being presented.

Some Important Concepts

Following are some terms often used to describe articles. You will want to understand what these terms mean as you evaluate sources.

  • scholarly - an article that is academic in nature
  • peer-reviewed - an article that has been reviewed and evaluated by someone with knowledge of the subject or field
  • primary research - an article that reports on a research study that the author(s) conducted themselves
  • secondary - an article that discusses or synpopsizes other research studies (such as a literature review)
  • quantitative - an article that reports on a research study where numerical analysis was used
  • qualitative - an article that reports on a research study where subjective or narrative data was used

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