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DATA! Visualizing and More: Evaluating Resources

Your go-to place to learn more about creating it, visualizing it and beyond!

What are peer-reviewed sources?

You will be frequently asked to use peer-reviewed, scholarly/academic articles for your research and paper writing at Washington College.

Peer review means that a board of scholarly reviewers in the subject area of the journal assesses materials they publish. They are looking for quality in the research and adherence to journal standards before articles are accepted for publication.

If you use materials from peer-reviewed publications they have been vetted by scholars in your field for quality and importance. 

Evaluating Websites

Authority and Authorship

  • Who is the author? 
  • Is the author an authority on the subject? What are the author’s credentials?
  • Who or what is sponsoring the page? 
  • Is there a link to information about the author or sponsor? 
  • What is the domain of the URL? (.edu, .com, .org, .net, etc.)
  • If the page includes neither a signature nor indicates a sponsor, is there any way to determine it’s origin? (Look for a header or footer showing the sponsor) 


  • When was it last updated?
  • How current are the links? Have some expired or moved? 


  • What is the purpose of the page? Inform? Persuade? Sell?
  • Can you tell what the author’s opinion or point of view is? 
  • Does the page present consistent information? 
  • Is the page well edited? 
  • Does the information seem complete? 

Final Analysis

  • Do you think this page presents reliable and accurate information?
  • Do you think your instructor would want you to use this page for your research?


Cultivating a Maker Mindset

photo by Jared Tarbell, 2007, laser cuts, Flickr (creative commons license)