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Find and use information: Choose and evaluate

Why should I choose and evaluate sources carefully?

The types of information you use in every situation depends on your purpose or need  in that situation. At University you will often be expected to use a variety of resources and some, like academic journal articles, that you may not have encountered before.

Watch the videos on this page to learn about types of resources, and evaluating information for credibility and relevance.

Then test your knowledge: take the quiz at the bottom of the page.

How to evaluate sources using the 5 Ws

Learning resources

TRAAP test - a way to evaluate information


  • Timeliness
    • Find the date of publication (or copyright)
    • Is this date appropriate for your research?
  • Relevance
    • Does the information relate to your topic?
    • Can you use this information to support the argument you wish to make?
  • Authority
    • Is the author or creator identified?
    • Does he or she have relevant qualifications?
    • Who is the publisher?
    • Web - Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .ne
  • Accuracy
    • Is the information supported by references?
    • Does the content seem neutral and free of emotion?
    • Are there errors in spelling or grammar?
  • Purpose
    • Is the information brief or detailed?
    • What group of readers (audience) is the information for?
    • What is the purpose of the content? Is it to educate, inform, entertain or sell?
    • Is the content scholarly or popular?

TRAAP model for evaluating sources

Evaluating resources

Evaluating news

fake newsIFLA [CC BY 4.0 (]

Keepin' it real - tips and strategies for evaluating fake news - Library guide from William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University , Los Angeles.

Types of articles

Discover the differences between academic, trade, and popular articles.

Critiquing a research report


To critique literature properly requires more in-depth engagement with the text. These short articles may give you some guidelines.  Remember to check with your lecturer and with the learning outcomes of your course to ensure you meet expectations.

What is peer review?

Burke, A,. Orphanides, A., Hyun-Duck, C., Dorafshar, D., Langdon, K. & Duckett, K. (2014). Peer review in 3 minutes [Video file]. Retrieved from 

Test your knowledge