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How To Write A Research Paper Step 3: Evaluate Your Sources

Examine your sources with a critical eye.  Something that once sounded perfect might not be the best book to use after you examine it in depth.

Author:

Are they well known and respected in their field? 
Is the particular work in their area of research? 
What is their bias, and does it obviously skew the argument?

Publication information:

Who was the publisher of the book or journal?
Is it a reliable website?
Are your articles peer reviewed? 
Has the book been reviewed professionally?
What kind of journal was the article in? 
When was the book or article written? 
Is the item up to date?

Audience and Content:

Who is the intended audience of the article or book?
How comprehensive or specific is the information in the resource?
Is it intended for general readers or an academic audience?

Bibliography:

Does it have references available, and how extensive is the bibliography?
Do other books or articles reference your resource?

Step 4: Writing