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Introduction to library research in the arts: Evaluating sources

An introduction to research concepts and techniques for University of Redlands students in fine, literary and performing arts, developed as an Open Educational Resource (OER)


Research involves drawing on outside sources to help you answer a question or solve a problem.

As you come across sources, you have to decide whether they are relevant to your topic, and whether they are reliable. You will be spending time with sources, engaging with the authors' ideas and allowing them to shape your thinking, so you want sources you can trust.

Recognizing reliable sources can be challenging, particularly when you are learning about a new topic. Also, sources can take many forms - books, articles, videos, blogs and social media, and more.

This section discusses how information sources are created. Understanding the processes by which sources are created, and how the experience and perspectives of authors and institutions are embedded into these sources, can help you understand how to evaluate the relevance and reliability of a source for your research topic.