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News and Information Sources

Finding and evaluating news and information sources.

Evaluating News and Information

Anyone can publish information on the Internet.  You need to determine what's the most appropriate and reliable information for your research. Here's one method to help you decide whether news and information on websites is accurate and trustworthy.

Use 5 Ws to analyze information sources:

Who?  Authority

  • Who wrote this? 
  • What are the author's qualifications?  
  • What is the author's institutional affiliation?

What? Accuracy

  • What kind of resource is this - newspaper article, scholarly research article, advertisement, commercial website?
  • Is the content well-researched? Are the facts or sources provided?
  • Can you verify the content in another source?
  • Are their editors, fact-checkers (for news stories), or a peer review process (for scholarly journals)?

When?  Currency

  • ​When was it written or published?
  • Is it important that the information is up-to-date?
  • Has the original information been contradicted by a later report?

Where?  Publisher 

  • Where is the information from?
  • How reputable is the publisher?
  • Where is it published and what is the Internet domain?
    • .com = commercial site
    • .gov = U.S. government site
    • .org = nonprofit organization site
    • .edu = educational site
    • .mil = military
    • Learn more about Internet domains and country codes

Why?  Purpose

  • What is the purpose of the source?  Is it trying to sell you something? Convince you of something? 
  • Does it provide opinions or facts?
  • Does the source represent a political religious or social group?
  • Is advertising clearly differentiated from informational content?
  • Why are you considering this source - for academic, health or entertainment reasons?


Adapted from University Libraries, University of Washington, Savvy Info Consumers: Evaluating Information, March 13, 2017.

Evaluating Credibility

      NCSU Libraries: credits and licensing

More ways to evaluate:

  • CRAAP Test:  Currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose