Skip to main content

American Art: Evaluate Sources

This guide features resources most useful to research American artists, American art history topics, and American artworks.

GENERAL EVALUATIVE CRITERIA

How can you identify valuable sources for your research?

Evaluate each source for...

Accuracy
  • 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?
Audience
  • Who is the intended audience (scholars, the general population, a specific group) ?
  • How do your research needs compare with those of the intended audience?
Authority
  • 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?
Bibliography
  • What sources did the author use in preparing this presentation?
  • What is the scope of the research presented?
Bias
  • 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?
Currency
  • How is this source positioned within the current conversation surrounding your topic?
  • How does this source build upon previous scholarship?
Depth
  • How deeply does the author explore the subject matter?
  • Does the author meet the goals defined in the abstract or introduction?
Uniqueness
  • 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
Contact:
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.
margaret.ericson@colby.edu
207-859-5662
Website
Colby College on Twitter Colby College on Facebook Colby College on YouTube Colby College on Vimeo Colby College RSS Feed Search Previous Next