Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Michigan State University

PSY 409--Researching your topic on the Psychobiology of Behavioral Development: Assessing sources

Assessing sources

To assess any source (web site, video, book, article...) use the following questions to think about quality and validity:   

  1. Author:  Who is the author of the site?  This can be a person (credentials are needed) or an agency (such as the National Science Foundation).  You'll want the information to be coming from a credible source .
  2. Date:  When was the information you want to cite written or last updated?  
  3. References:  Does the site reference the scientific literature or other reliable sources?  Information presented without citation of the literature is not scholarly.  You want to cite as many scholarly sources as possible and minimize the information you get from non-scholarly sources.
  4. Audience:  Who is the audience of the site?  If the site was written for a layperson or lower-level student, the information might not be in-depth enough for a senior biology student's paper. 
  5. Funding:  What is the funding source of the site?  Advertising should be clearly distinguishable from content.  Look for evidence of bias. This is more of a problem for sites that present health information. 
Michigan State University