Skip to Main Content

Design Thinking & Communication (DTC)

Evaluating Sources

Consider the ACT UP criteria as you review search results and select sources for your research.  These criteria work for all formats (websites, articles, books, videos, and more).
Criteria Questions to Ask
  • Who (person, organization, company) created the source?
  • What are their credentials/affiliation or experience that qualify them on this topic?
  •  What editorial process was used to disseminate this resource? Peer review? Journalism?
  • If a website, does the URL provide insight? Examples .gov, .edu, .com, .org, .net
  • Does your topic require current information? If so, when was the source written and published?
  • Has the information been revised or updated recently?
  • How accurate is the information? Can you verify the claims in other resources?
  • Has the information been reviewed? Is there a bibliography?
  • What type of evidence is used to support claims or arguments?
  • Is the information presented to impact your emotions or your reason?
  • Is the purpose to sell? To teach? To persuade? To entertain?
  • Does the point of view appear objective or unbiased?
  • Check the privilege of the author(s). Who is missing from the conversation?
  • Critically evaluate the subject terms associated with each resource you find. How are they described? What are the inherent biases?
  • What is the purpose of the publication? To sell, teach, persuade or entertain?
Adapted from Dawn Stahura, "ACT UP: Evaluating Sources," accessed March 22, 2018,