Skip to main content

College Research

Learn the methods and tools for conducting college level research.

Evaluating Your Sources

Consider 4 aspects about a source to determine if it is reliable:

  1. Author
  2. Motivation or Bias
  3. Evidence
  4. Timeliness

1. Author

  • Is the author listed?
  • Is the author an individual or a group?
  • What makes the author an expert?

2. Motivation or Bias

  • Is this opinion or fact?
  • Is the source supported by an organization or company? What do they stand to gain from this?
  • Websites ending in ".edu" or ".gov" will more likely present a neutral point of view (but not always).
  • Are your own biases making you critical about the source before examining the evidence?

3. Evidence

  • Does the source provide any evidence such as citations or links? Do the links work?
  • Was the information reviewed by experts?
  • Can you confirm the information in another source?

4. Timeliness

  • When was the information published or last updated?
  • Is the information up to date?

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information that confirms or support one's personal beliefs or values. It includes instances when people ignore or choose not to believe information that is true simply because that information does not align with their personal beliefs.

You should avoid confirmation bias in your research and engage with factual and scholarly information that might challenge your own point of view. Watch the following video to learn ways to beat confirmation bias.