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Research Guide Department of Spanish and Portuguese: Finding Sources

Evaluating Information

Information comes in different formats:

  • Newspaper articles (opinion, investigative, analysis)
  • Scholarly articles
  • Magazine articles
  • Books
  • Electronic media
  • Visual arts (paintings, architecture, photography...)

When you evaluate information, you are looking at certain criteria that will help you decide how useful the material is for you. You can determine whether a book or article is appropriate for your paper or project by applying the following criteria:

  • Currency

    • When was it published? In what year?

  • Authority 

    • Who did it write it? is the author an expert on the subject?

    • What publishing house published the work?

      • Is it academic?

      • Is it government-based?

      • Is it recognized for its quality and objectivity?

  • Objectivity

    • What point of view is the author presenting? Is the author partial or impartial?

    • Is it considered an opinion or investigative or analysis piece? 

  • Scope (coverage)

    • What is it about?

    • Is it general or covers the topic in-depth?

  • Audience

    • Who is the audience?

      • university students, popular, experts in the topic?

Databases of Interest

Primary Sources

Categorizing Sources

Primary Sources

A primary source is content created by a person who has witnessed an event or has first-hand knowledge.

  • Diaries
  • Photographs
  • Newspaper articles that report on an event for the first time
  • Maps
  • Oral histories
  • Speeches
  • Paintings

Determining if it is a primary source

  • Was the author/creator directly involved in the event or time period?
  • Have I verified that this item is actually from the time period it says it's from?


Finding Specific Formats

Looking for a specific type, genre, or format of information. Use these guides to find the best tools and strategies to do so!


Art Images





Dissertations & Theses







Primary Sources

Statistics & Data


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