Skip to main content

Getting Started with Research: Evaluate and Analyze Sources

Sometimes the hardest part of research is getting started! Here are some tutorials and tools to help.

Evaluate and Analyze Sources

Evaluate and Analyze Sources

Accuracy: copyright date, last update, sources verified, quality of source material, range of dates for source material, links work

Bias: both sides equally presented, no facts omitted, not a parody

Credentials: authors' credentials, contact information, sponsor or publisher of website

Primary Source: created during the time period you are researching (for example, a diary, a letter, a speech from that period, etc.)

Secondary Source: is a source that was created to analyze or report on the event or time period.

Answers essential questions?

C is for Content, Credibility, Currency

C: Content, Credibility, Currency

  • Is the purpose of the site to offer factual information?
  • Does the information appear to be true?
  • Is there a copyright date or a "date last updated"?
  • Is it current?

A is for Author & Authority, Accuracy, Audience

A: Author & Authority, Accuracy, Audience

  • Is there an author or institution behind the site?
  • Is the author and authoritative/expert source?
  • Is this a personal page or site?
  • Is the site free from spelling errors?
  • Is the intended audience appropriate for my research
  • Are there references or a list of souces on the site?
  • Can I contact the author or organization if I have questions?

R is for Reliability, Relevance, Reasonableness

R: Reliability, Relevance, Reasonableness

  • Are the links to other relevent sources? Do they work?
  • Is the domain/URL appropriate for the content?
  • Is this site helpful for my research question?
  • Do other sites offer the same or better information?
  • Is the information objective?
  • Do others link to this site?

E is for Ease of Use, Efficiency

E: Ease of Use, Efficiency

  • Is it easy to find the information I need?
  • Are there any advertisements on the site?
  • Is the website well designed and organized for my needs?
  • Does the site load quickly?


The CARE Web Evaluation Worksheet and criteria was used with permission from Donna Zecha, Hopkinton Middle/High School

Using Internet Searches

Just because it is on the internet doesn't make it true! 

Unless you are collecting information from the Library Research Databases or an evaluated website, you need to test your source using the CARE Web Evaluation test and conduct a website evaluation tool search. 

Save yourself some time, use Library Research Databases!


Practice your Web Evaluation skills

Buy an Ancestor Online Want your family lineage to look a little more impressive than it does?

Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division Homepage Explore the controversy which surrounds this naturally-occurring substance.

All About Explorers: "Everything you've ever wanted to know about every explorer who ever lived."

Dog Island: Give your dog the vacation it deserves!

Computer Tan: Summer's sure to get your glow on!

Petit Lap Giraffes: Brought to you direct from Sokoblovsky Farms, Russia's finest purveyors of miniature lap giraffes, come these charming beauties! Be the first on your block to have this novel new pet!

Thank you to Laura Denehy, Library Media Specialist, Merrimack Middle School, Merrimack, NH. Used with permission.

Primary or Secondary Source?