Skip to Main Content

The Shapiro Wing is now open for silent study. We look forward to welcoming you back into the Library. For more information about study space and resources available, please see our On-Campus Services Page

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating sources is necessary in order to figure out if sources are going to help or hurt your studies! This research guide will help you examine your sources.


Welcome to the Evaluating Sources Research Guide!

Welcome to the library's research guide for evaluating sources! When evaluating sources, you investigate where the source comes from, who the authors are, when it was published, what institutions are involved, and more! Please click on the tabs to learn more.

For further assistance, feel free to call/text us at 215-948-4171 or email us at


Image from:

The Steps

What should I do to evaluate a source?

Follow these steps to evaluate your materials:

1. Who is the author? The most common places to find the name of the author are: title page (a book and sometimes article will have this), title information at top of first page (articles, book chapters), end of the article (encyclopedias), or top or bottom of page (web pages).

2. What are the author's credentials? Examine the item for information about the author, search the web for the author's personal website, or search for articles or the library's book catalog for other works by the author.

3. Who is the publisher? Make sure you are able to find a publisher. You can even examine the publisher's website. Are they commercial (trying to sell you something), or institutional (affiliated with academics)?

4. Does the author portray a particular bias? (bias = leaning toward one perspective at the expensive of another).

5. Are both sides of a controversial issue presented? You want sources that are going to be up front with you - ones that won't try to hide any information!

6. Does the information appear to be valid and well-researched? The information must be valid, or it will not help your studies!

7. Are arguments and conclusions supported by evidence? There needs to be evidence in order for the source to be worth your time!

8. Is the information well-organized? Look at the table of contents to see if there is organization, and skim the text. A scholarly source will be organized.

9. Are there spelling errors or "typos"? If there are typos and spelling errors, the source is not reputable.
10. Are the images appropriate? If the source is scholarly, the images should be tables, charts, diagrams, or the like.
11. If a web page, is the information reliable? If "yes," then the web page is probably ok to use. Talk to your professor.

A large portion of the above information was borrowed from The University of Oregon's libraries website, which can be found here:

What exactly is a "Peer-Reviewed Article"? Watch this video to Find out!

Scholarly vs. Popular

What is a scholarly source? It's usually a book, article, or website that contains original research and lots of high-level, technical language. The authors of these articles, books, and websites are widely considered to be experts in their fields. Websites are acceptable sources, as long as your professor allows you to use them. Look for sites that are current and objective in purpose and scope.

What is a popular source? This would be a newspaper or magazine article. These articles are entertaining, easy to understand, and filled with pictures.


Find Articles Here!

The databases listed below will help you find scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. Just click on any of the links, you will be taken to that particular database. Then, type a "keyword" into the search bar to find materials on your subject. *Note: these are just a few of the databases the Del Val library has. For a complete list, please click here.

If you are confused about what a database is, or what a keyword search is, then please watch the videos below. They will be very helpful! The videos are borrowed from other libraries, so if you have any further questions, please contact a Del Val librarian, or stop in the library!

Need help with "keyword" searching? Tune in to this video!

What IS a "database"?! Watch this video to Find out!

MLA Style

MLA Style Guides

Consult these manuals in the library if you'd like!

Cover Art
Cite right: A quick guide to citation styles - Charles Lipson
Call Number: REF 808.027 L669c 2011
ISBN: 9780226484648
Publication Date: 2011

Cover Art
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Call Number: REF 808.027 M72h 2009
ISBN: 978-1603290241
Publication Date: 2009

Additional Resources

If you don't see the citation example that you need, try one of these resources or contact the library for assistance.

  • Purdue OWL
    A comprehensive overview of MLA formatting, including examples for in-text citations and reference lists.
  • KnightCite
    A FREE online citation generator provided by Calvin College's library. Choose MLA on the left side of the screen and then input your citation elements.

Reference List Examples - MLA Formatting

Book Chapter from Anthology or Edited Work -- Online/Electronic

Epstein, Leslie. "The Roar of the Crowd." Scoring from Second: Writers on Baseball. Ed.

   Philip F. Deaver. Lincoln: Bison, 2007. 99-103. Web. 15 May 2008.

Book Chapter from Anthology or Edited Work -- Print

Bordo, Susan. "The Moral Content of Nabokov's Lolita." Aesthetic Subjects. Ed. Pamela R.

   Matthews and David McWhirter. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2003. 125-52. Print.

Entire Book -- Online/Electronic

Garcia Landa, Jose Angel, comp. A Bibliography of Literary Theory, Criticism and Philology.

   13th ed. U de Zaragoza, 2008. Web. 15 May 2008.

Entire Book -- Print

Hutcheon, Linda, and Michael Hutcheon. Bodily Charm: Living Opera. Lincoln: U of

   Nebraska P, 2000. Print.

Entry in Reference Work -- Online

"de Kooning, Willem." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2008.

   Web. 15 May 2008.

Entry in Reference Work -- Print

Allen, Anita L. "Privacy in Health Care." Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Ed. Stephen G. Post. 3rd

   ed. Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan-Thomson, 2004. Print.

Journal Article (Scholarly) -- Online

Tolson, Nancy. "Making Books Available: The Role of Early Libraries, Librarians, and

   Booksellers in the Promotion of African American Children's Literature." African

   American Review 32.1 (1998): 9-16. JSTOR. Web. 5 June 2008.

Journal Article (Scholarly) -- Print

Piper, Andrew. "Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and the Book of Everything." PMLA

   121.1 (2006): 124-38. Print.

Magazine Article -- Online

Green, Joshua. "The Rove Presidency." The Atlantic Monthly Group, Sept.

   2007. Web. 15 May 2008.

Magazine Article -- Print

McEvoy, Dermot. "Little Books, Big Success." Publishers Weekly 30 Oct. 2006: 26-28. Print.

Newspaper Article -- Online

"The Scientists Speak." Editorial. New York Times. New York Times, 20 Nov. 2007. Web. 15

   May 2008.

Newspaper Article -- Print

McKay, Peter A. "Stocks Feel the Dollar's Weight." Wall Street Journal 4 Dec. 2006: C1+.


Web Page -- with Author and Date

Lipson, Charles. "Advice on Getting a Great Recommendation." Charles Lipson. 2010. Web.

   5 May 2010.

Web Page -- no Author or Date

"I Love Lucy: Series Summary." Sitcoms Online. Sitcoms Online, n.d. Web. 5 May 2010.

Citation examples taken from the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (seventh edition) and Cite Right. Both manuals are available for in-library use.

APA Style

Paper Formatting

A title page is required for all APA Style papers, unless noted otherwise by your professor. Students should follow the guidelines fo their instructor when determining which title page format is mst appropriate to use. If not instructed otherwise, students should include the following elements on the title page. 

NOTE: Student title pages do not require a running head, unlike a professional title page. 

University attended, including department or division
Course number and name
Instructor name
Assignment due date

In-Text Citations


When the author's name appears in the sentence, it does not need to be repeated in the citation.

Recent literature has examined long-run price drifts following initial public offerings and other factors (Luna, 2020).
Luna (2020) reaches more or less the same conclusion.

Two or more sources within same parentheses

Order the citations of two or more works by different authors within the same parentheses alphabetically in the same order in which they appear in the reference list (including citations that would otherwise shorten to et al.). Separate the citations with semicolons. 

Several studies (Adams et al., 2019; Shumway & Shulman, 2015; Westinghouse, 2017))...



For people with osteoarthritis, "painful joints should be moved through a full range of motion every day to maintain flexibility and to slow deterioration of cartilage" (Flores, 2019, p. 20). 
(Gecht-Silver & Duncombe, 2015, p. 210) 

More than three authors

(Smith et al., 2014, p. 203)

No author
(Title Page #)

(Plagiarism and You 1942) 
("Five Ways to Protect Yourself" 1993)

No page number

Because the material does not include page numbers, you can include any of the following in the text to cite the quotation:

  • A paragraph number, if provided; alternatively, you could count paragraphs down from the beginning of the document.
  • An overarching heading plus a paragraph number within that section.
  • A short title in quotation marks, in cases in which the heading is too unwieldy to cite in full.


(Anderson, 2013, para. 1).

Reference List

Start the reference list on a new page after the txt and before any tables, figures, and/or appendices. Label the reference list "References," capitalized, in bold, and centered.

Double-space all reference list entries (including between and within references). 

Use a hanging indent for all references, meaning that the first line of each reference is flush left and subsequent lines are indented by 0.5 in. 

Works are listed in alphabetical order by the last name of the first listed author. 

Journal Articles

 Last name, Initials. (Year). Article title, sentence style capitalization. Journal title, volume(issue, if available), pages. URL, if no DOI available


 Ahmann, E. (2018). A descriptive review of ADHD coaching research: Implications for college students. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 31(1), 17-39.

Journal article with multiple authors

 Last name, Initials., & Last name, Initials. (Year). Article title, sentence style capitalization. Journal title, volume(issue, if available), pages. URL, if no DOI available


 McCauley, S. M., & Christiansen, M. H. (2019). Language learning as language use: A cross-linguistic model of child language development. Psychological Review, 126(1), 1-51.

When a source has twenty-two or more authors, include first twenty-one … last listed author.


Kalnay, E., Kanamitsu, M., Kitler, R., Collins, W., Deaven, D., Gandin, L., Iredell, M., Saha, S., White, G., Woolen, J., Zhu, Y., Chelliah, M., Ebisuzaki, W., Higgins, W., Janowiak, J., Mo, K. C., Ropelewski, C., Wang, J., Leetman, A., . . . Joseph, D. (1996). The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 77(3), 437-471.


 Last name, Intials. (Year). Title, sentence style capitalization. Publisher's name. 


 Burgess, R. (2019). Rethinking global health: frameworks of power. Routledge. 

Books with multiple authors

 Last name, Initials, & Last name, Initials. (Year). Title, sentence style capitalization (edition, if available). Publisher's name. 


 Christian, B., & Griffiths, T. (2016). Algorithms to live by: the computer science of human decisions. Henry Holt and Co.

Chapter in edited book

 Last name, Initials. (Year). Chapter title, sentence style capitalization. In Editor (eds.), Title, sentence style capitalization (pages). Publisher's name. 


 Weinstock, R., Leong, G., & Silva, J. A. (2003). Defining forensic psychiatry: roles and responsibilities. In R. Rosner (Ed.), Principles and practice of forensic psychiatry (2nd ed., pp. 7-13). CRC Press. 

Conference Papers

If a conference paper has been published (for example, in a proceedings), the published form is usually either a chapter of an edited book or an article in a journal.

Papers published in conference proceedings, book

Last name, Initials. (Year). Title. In Editor (eds.), Title of proceedings (pages). Publisher's name. 


Cismas, S. C. (2010). Educating academic writing skills in engineering. In P. Dondon & O. Martin (Eds.), Latest trends on engineering education (pp. 225-247). WSEAS Press.

Papers published in conference proceedings, journal

Last name, Initials., & Last name, Initials. (Year). Article title, sentence style capitalization. Journal title, volume(issue, if available), pages. URL, if no DOI available


Chaudhuri, S., & Biswas, A. (2017). External terms-of-trade and labor market imperfections in developing countries: Theory and evidence. Proceedings of the Academy of Economics and Economic Education, 20


The presentation delivered at a conference may only be available as an informally published work online, or may only have been delivered live and is not available in full. 

Paper or session presented at conference, not formally published

Last name, Initials, & Last name, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Title [Paper or poster presentation], sentence style capitalization. Conference name, Location.


McDonald, E., Manessis, R., & Blanksby, T. (2019, July 7-10). Peer mentoring in nursing - improving retention, enhancing education [Poster presentation]. STARS 2019 Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Court Decisions

Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court Date)


Lessard v. Schmidt, 349 F. Supp. 1078 (E.D. Wis. 1972)

In-Text Citation 

To cite the reference in text, give the case name, in italics, and the year.

Name v. Name (Year)
(Name v. Name, Year)


Lessard v. Schmidt (1972)
(Lessard v. Schmidt, 1972)

Federal Statutes

‚ÄčIn APA Style, most legal materials are cited in the standard legal citation style used for legal references across all disciplines.

A statute is a law or act passed by a legislative body. As with court decisions, statutes exist on both the federal and state levels, such as an act by Congress or by a state government. 

Name of Act, Title Source § Section Number (Year). URL


Every Student Succeeds Act, 20 U.S.C. § 6301 (2015).

In-Text Citation 
The in-text citation format for a federal statute is similar to that for other APA Style references. Cite the name of the statute and the year.


Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (2006)
(Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 2006)

Government Reports

 Last name, Initials, & Last name, Initials. (Year). Title, sentence style capitalization (Report number, if available). Publisher's name.URL. 


 National Cancer Institute. (2018). Facing forward: life after cancer treatment (NIH Publication No. 18-2424). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

Law Review

 Last name, Initials. (Year). Title, sentence style capitalization. Journal name, volume, starting page. 


 Martin, L. H. (1991). Case worker liability for the negligent handling of child abuse reports. University of Cincinnati Law Review, 60, 191.

Newspaper Articles

 Last name, Initials, & Last name, Initials. (Year, month day). Title, sentence style capitalization. Newspaper name. URL


 Guariano, B. (2017), December 4). How will humanity react to alien life? Psychologists have some predictions. The Washington Post.


Last name, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Title, sentence style capitalization [Webinar]. Organization name. URL


Anderson, K. (2018, January 23). Disease prevention basics [Webinar]. Montana State University.


 Author or organization name. (Date of publication, if available). Webpage title. URL


 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, January 23). People at high risk of developing flu-related complications.

When no date is listed

 Author or organization name. (n.d.). Webpage title. URL


 National Nurses United. (n.d.). What employers should do to protect nurses from Zika.

YouTube Video

Account name. (Date of publication). Video name [Video]. Webpage title. URL


Asian Boss. (2020, June 5). World’s leading vaccine expert fact-checks COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy: stay curious #22 [Video]. YouTube.

 (Asian Boss, 2020; Harvard University, 2019)

Is the example you need missing?

Contact the Library at to request a new example and citation help!

Writing Center


The Writing Center is staffed by DelVal undergraduate peer tutors who help with writing assignments in all your courses. We view writing as a process that involves planning, reading, drafting, revising, and editing—writing with substance involves discovering your meaning through brainstorming, sharing, and getting lots of feedback.

Tutors help you gain a fresh perspective on the writing process, and can assist with any stage of the process:  choosing a topic or working through writer's block, generating ideas, creating an outline, sharpening a thesis, arranging and organizing paragraphs, citing correctly and fluently, editing grammar and mechanics, and more.

Instructors receive a copy of the tutor report completed during the session, to illustrate your engagement with the writing process and meeting the demands of writing across disciplines.

Services are on a walk-in basis, so no appointment is necessary. Schedules are posted in the Writing Center, on Inside DelVal, and on professors' Blackboard course pages.

Tutors look forward to working with you!

Getting Help

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Elise Georgulis
Graduate Studies Librarian
Graduate students, please email to set up an appointment.

Meet with a Librarian