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Evaluate Your Sources

Evaluate Your Sources

TRAP Source Evaluation

Using inaccurate, irrelevant, or poorly researched sources can affect the quality of your own work. Keep the TRAP method in mind. Below is a list of criteria along with questions that can help you decide if a source is right for your research. Below is an abbreviated list of questions to help with source evaluation.

Check MarkTimeliness: the date of source/ information creation.

  • When was the source published?
  • Has it been updated or revised?
  • Are older sources appropriate for your research?

Check MarkRelevance: relates to your topic.

  • Does the source relate to your topic?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Check MarkAuthority: the source the information comes from.

  • What are the author's credentials (education, affiliation, experience, etc.)?
  • What qualifies the author to write about this topic?

Check MarkPerspective: the point of view or attitude toward an issue.

  • Does the point of view appear impartial and objective?
  • Is the author presenting fact or opinion?
  • Is the author's language informal, joking, emotional or impassioned?

Evaluating Sources and Authority

Western University. "Evaluating Sources." YouTube, 12 Jan. 2012,

OkStateLibrary. "Inform Your Thinking - Episode 2 - Who Do You Trust and Why?" YouTube, 10 June 2016,