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Research Guides

WRR308: Writing about Plants and the Environment

Evaluate Sources

No matter the types of resources, whether it be books, articles, or websites, that you use for your assignments, they should be reliable, quality sources of information.

You can evaluate the quality of a resource using RADAR. RADAR is a framework that stands for five criteria: Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, and Relevance. Each criterion has associated questions to answer in order to critically evaluate your resource. If you find that your responses are often uncertain or “no,” you may want to consider using another resource.

Evaluating information using RADAR

You may start with a Wikipedia or a commercial website to get basic familiarity with a concept - but don't stop there.

Credible, appropriate sources will add great value to your conceptual design. How do you evaluate credibility? Follow the guidelines provided by your course instructors. So keep in mind RADAR (Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, and Relevance) when researching:

  RADAR (Rational, Authority, Date, Accuracy, Relevance)

Adapted from: Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470–478.

Avoid Misinformation

How to Spot Fake News


  1. Consider the Source: Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
  2. Read Beyond:  Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story?
  3. Check the Author: Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?
  4. Supporting Sources?:  Click on those link. Determin if the info given actually supports the story.
  5. Check the Date: Reposting old new stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events.
  6. Is it a Joke? If it's too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
  7. Check your Biases: Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.
  8. Ask the Experts: Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.