Some tips on how to conduct an effective source evaluation...

A good source evaluation:

  • encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, their place within a field of study, and their relation to your own research and ideas.
  • proves you have read and understand your sources.
  • establishes your work as a valid source and you as a competent researcher.
  • situates your study and topic in a continuing professional conversation.
  • provides a way for others to decide whether a source will be helpful to their research if they read it.
  • could help interested researchers determine whether they are interested in a topic by providing background information and an idea of the kind of work going on in a field.

A (source evaluation) is both a brief summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, it includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your reviews may do one or more of the following.

•Summarize: Some source reviews merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say?

• Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources that you have found? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?

•Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it/will it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

-courtesy of Purdue OWL website