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CRWS: Critical Reading, Writing, Speaking Series

Resources for the Critical Reading, Writing, Speaking Series.

Evaluate Information

In the CRWS series you will:

  • Evaluate information critically
    • Identify features that illustrate the quality of sources, including qualifications of author, credibility of author and source, bias, currency of evidence, and appropriateness
    • Articulate specific reasons that a source is useful to a student’s research

Looking for more in-depth information on how to evaluate sources? Check out the libraries Evaluating Information guide. 

Evaluating Websites

In this video, learn how to evaluate websites for use in academic research. 

Source Evaluation

Examples of sources that are often the most credible:

  • Official government websites
  • Institutional sites that represent universities, regulatory agencies, governing bodies, and respected organizations with specific expertise (e.g., the Mayo Clinic)
  • Peer-reviewed journals
  • Reputable news sources

Examples of sources that are often considered less credible:

  • Blogs
  • Web forums
  • Individual or business websites
  • Materials published by an entity that may have an ulterior motive

Factors to consider

Least reliable

Possibly reliable

Most reliable                     

Type of source

Unfamiliar website

Published material

Official websites, institutional sites, academic journals

Author’s background

Uncredited or unknown

Educated on topic

Expert in the field

Date published



Recently revised

Depth of review

Controversial reviews

Good public response; general approval

Peer-reviewed by reliable sources

Sources cited


Credible sources

Citations referencing other well-cited works


Clearly biased

Sponsored source

Balanced, neutral

Types of research:

  • Research Article: sometimes referred to as empirical or primary sources, report on original research. They will typically include sections such as an introduction, methods, results, and discussion
  • Review Article: sometimes called literature reviews or secondary sources, synthesize or analyze research already conducted in primary sources. They generally summarize the current state of research on a given topic.