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COMM 201 - Interpersonal Communication, Webb: Evaluating Sources

Information and resources to assist student with 201 Communications coursework

Methods of Evaluation

Website Evaluation: PATS

Guidelines for evaluating websites:


  • Why was this source created? 
  • What audience was it created for?
  • Is it scholarly or popular? Does this matter?


  • Who is the author? A person? A corporation?
  • What are the author's qualifications for writing on this subject?


  •  Is there a date?
  •  When was the content last updated?


  • Does it give too much or too little information?
  • How specific is the information provided?

Characteristics of a Scholarly Article

--Have a serious appearance.  The words "Journal," "Transactions," "Proceedings," or "Quarterly," may appear in the title.

--Written for professors, students or researchers. 

--Authors are experts in their field

--Uses an academic writing style.

--Articles are reviewed by a board of experts or "peer reviewed."

--Follows a format: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, and a conclusion.

--Always includes references and citations

--May include tables, graphs or illustrations to support research.

--Published by professional organization, university or commercial enterprise

--Little or no advertising.


Partially adapted from  Characteristics of Scholarly Journals, Trade Journals and Popular Magazines

Tips for Evaluating Sources

Tips for Evaluating Resources

--Determine what type of source i.e.: book, journal, website

--Remember .gov sources are unbiased unless they are presenting a political perspective or ideology ( or

--Sites which are for commercial or corporate entities should be regarded with suspicion

--Watch for fake news or satire sites (if you are not familiar with a website look for the "About" page or FAQs)\

--Determine who is sponsoring or creating the site. If authorship cannot be determined move on to another source.