Skip to main content

AR 121a Writing About Art: Library Research Class: Evaluate Sources

A guide to assist you with research on a work in the Lunder Collection of the Colby College Museum of Art


How can you identify valuable sources for your research?

Evaluate each source for...

  • Can you verify the information presented using other sources like encyclopedia articles, government documents, statistical data, or primary sources?
  • Are other researchers citing this source?
  • Who is the intended audience (scholars, the general population, a specific group) ?
  • How do your research needs compare with those of the intended audience?
  • Who is responsible for the presentation of this information? (publisher, funding agency, etc.)
  • What are the author's credentials? (education, institutional affiliation, previous research, honors, etc.)
  • Is the publication from a reliable publisher? What is the domain?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • What will this particular source add to your research?
  • How does this source work with the other resources you will be using?

Other Guides for Evaluating Sources

Ask a Librarian

Margaret Ericson's picture
Margaret Ericson
Bixler Art and Music Library, Rm 136
Bixler Art/Music Building
Spring 2018 office hours: Monday, 2-4 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m.-noon.
Colby College on Twitter Colby College on Facebook Colby College on YouTube Colby College on Vimeo Colby College RSS Feed Search Previous Next