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Music and Gender: Evaluate Sources


This video, from the NC State University Libraries, explains what it means for a source to be credible and why is it important to use these sources.

Websites should have an overview page, called "About This Site," or a Site Map; these will help you find specific information quickly. Look at the domain letters at the end of the URL to identify the type of site.

  • .edu educational sites
  • .gov government sites
  • .mil military
  • .com business
  • .net network access companies
  • .org non-profit organizations
  • .int international organization


How to identify valuable sources for your research? Evaluate each source for...


  • Is information verifiable using other sources like encyclopedia articles, government documents, statistical data, or primary sources?
  • Are there obvious typos or other errors?
  • Are other researchers citing this source?


  • Who is the intended audience (scholars, the general population, a specific group, fans) ?
  • Does the vocabulary level and use of special terminology indicate intended audience? 
  • How do your research needs compare with those of the intended audience?


  • Who is responsible for the presentation of this information? (publisher, news agency, funding agency, etc.)
  • What are the author's credentials? (education, institutional affiliation, previous research, honors, etc.)
  • If a journal article, is the journal peer reviewed?
  • Is the publication from a reliable publisher?
  • What is the website domain? (e.g. .edu, .org, .gov, .com).


  • What sources did the author use in preparing this presentation?
  • What is the scope of the research presented?


  • Does the author offer evidence, in the form of primary and secondary sources, to support his/her assertions?
  • Is the information over-simplified and emotionally charged or logically investigated?
  • What is the author's intent? To inform, persuade, sell, entertain?


  • How is this source positioned within the current conversation surrounding your topic?
  • What is the publication date? Is your argument supported best by recent or historical information, or both?
  • How does this source build upon previous scholarship?


  • How deeply does the author explore the subject matter?
  • Does the author meet the goals defined in the abstract or introduction?


  • How does this source contribute to your research question (background, evidence, argument, context or method)
  • What will this particular source add to your research?


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