Skip to Main Content

SPHS Research Help: Evaluating Sources


"You can't believe everything you read on the Internet."

Abraham Lincoln



 Although we often focus on websites when we discuss evaluating sources, you should not assume that just because something is written in a book or in an academic journal that it must be true. All sources should be read with a critical eye.

Five Ws

1. Who

Who is the author? Are they an expert?

2. What 

What is the purpose of the resource? Does the information found differ from other resources you have looked at?

3. When

When was the information published? Updated?

4. Where

Where did the author find their information? Is there a bibliography or works cited list? 

5. Why

Why is this information useful? Does it fit your informational needs?


Adapted from Kathy Schrock's Critical Evaluation resources.

 Fact Checking Resources


An independent fact-checking journalism website aimed at bringing you the truth in politics. Every fact-check includes analysis of the claim, an explanation of reasoning and a list of links to all sources.



Snopes was founded in 1995 by writer and researcher David Mikkelson out of interest in researching urban legends. Independently funded and apolitical, Snopes has become a well-respected resource for research into urban legends, rumors, hoaxes, and fake news stories.


Washington Post Fact Checker

Fact checking from the Washington Post newspaper by award-winning journalist Glenn Kessler.

A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.


Website Credibility