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Evaluating Sources

There are a variety of checklist evaluation methods to help guide you through the process of evaluating a source. They all provide a series of questions to prompt critical thinking about various aspects of the source.

Magnifying glass with questionmark in center

Ordóñez, Augusto . (2017). Magnifying Glass Unknown Search [vector graphic]. Pixabay.


The TRAAP evaluation method stands for: Timing, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

Timing: How current is the information? When was it published or last updated? Is your topic historical or in an area that changes rapidly?

Relevance: Does it provide the information that you need for your research topic?

Authority: Who is the author? Are they an expert (academic researcher or educator; professional in the industry; Indigenous Elder; someone with lived experience)?

Accuracy: Is the information correct? Does it have evidence to support? Is the research method explained? Do other sources agree?

Purpose: Why did the author present this information? Does the author try to sell, entertain, or persuade? Is there a sponsor or advertiser involved? Be aware of any potential biases.


The RADAR evaluation method stands for: Relevance, Authority, Date, Accuracy, Rationale.


  • Does the information answer your research question?
  • Does the information meet the stated requirements for the assignment?
  • Is the information too technical or too simplified for you to use?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Does the source add something new to your knowledge of the topic?
  • Is the information focused on the geographical location you are interested in?


  • Is the author someone who brings trusted knowledge on this topic? Are they: an academic researcher or educator; a professional in the industry; an Indigenous Elder; someone with lived experience?
  • If the author or publisher is a corporation, organization, educational institution, or government body, does it have a reputation for being knowledgeable about the subject?
  • Can you find information about the author elsewhere – either in the article/source, or with further research on the internet? To find an academic author’s resume and publication history, look for their profile on Research Gate or on ORCID.
  • Does the publication include a reference list or bibliography showing that the author has researched the topic? Do other resources on the same topic cite the author?


  • When was the information published or last updated? Is the information outdated or obsolete?
  • Have newer articles (or other sources) been published on your topic?
  • Are links or references to other sources up-to-date?
  • Is your topic in an area that changes rapidly, like technology or science?


  • Are there statements you know to be false? Verify an unlikely story by finding a reputable source reporting the same thing. Is there general agreement among subject experts?
  • Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published? Was it fact-checked? How do you know?
  • Do the citations and references support the author's claim? Are the references correctly cited? Follow the links to check out the referenced sources.
  • Is there a description of the research method used? Does the method seem appropriate and well-executed?
  • For websites, consider the domain. Fake sites often add “.co” to trusted brands (e.g.


  • Why did the author or publisher make this information available? Is this source meant to entertain, educate or sell a product?
  • Is there a sponsor or advertising? Who pays to help make this information available?
  • Are alternative points of view presented? Does the author omit any important facts or data that might disprove their claim?