You will need to use critical thinking skills to evaluate your sources. This is especially true with online-only sources or non-academic journals. Check the following:
- Is the person, group or organization responsible for the site identified?
- What type of site have you located? For example, is it a personal page (.net) or blog, a company website (.com), an organization (.org), a government body (.gov), or an educational institution (.edu)?
- Does the author cite reliable sources for his or her facts?
- How does the information compare with that in other works written about this topic?
- What are the author's qualifications for writing on this subject?
- Is he or she connected with an organization that has an established reputation?
- Does the web site include a publication date or "last updated" date?
- Is the information provided recent? Or is it from the time period you are researching?
- Is the author affiliated with a particular organization that might have a bias?