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SAM 504: Industrial Ecology and the Circular Economy

A course guide for SAM 504: Industrial Ecology and Circular Economy, taught by Weslynne Ashton in Fall 2023

Evaluating Information Video

Evaluating Sources

Whenever we find a source, whether through Google or a library database, we always want to evaluate it to determine if we can use it for our research paper or project. When we evaluate, we are looking for relevance and credibility.

Relevance: Is this source useful, appropriate, and related to your particular research question?

Credibility: Is this source trustworthy? Why or why not?

We can use the evaluation criteria below to help us answer these questions.

Evaluation Criteria

Adapted from University of Illinois Library Teaching, Learning, and Academic Support's page, Evaluate Sources


  • Why was this source published?
  • Does this source inform, persuade, provide an opinion, sell something, etc.?
  • Who is the intended audience?


  • Who is the author or creator of this source?
  • What are their credentials?
  • Do they have authority to speak on this topic?


  • What company published or produced this source?
  • Is this a for-profit company, and if so, how might that impact the information presented in one of their publications/works?
  • Is this company known to have an editorial bias, and if so, how might that impact information presented in one of their publications/works?
  • Does this company have a mission statement listed on their website? What is it and what does it tell you about the company?

Date Published/Released

  • When was this information published or released?
  • Do you need recent or historical information on your topic?

Sources Cited

  • Does the author/creator cite their sources, either formally or informally?
  • What are the sources the author cites?
  • Does the author/creator appear to fairly represent the information from their cited sources?