MLA Style Guide

  • Evaluating Your Sources

    WHO is the author of the source? Is the author qualified to address the subject? Does the author draw on appropriate research and make a logical argument? Do you perceive bias or the possibility of it in the author’s relationship with the subject matter?

    WHAT is the source? Does it have a title, and does that title tell you anything about it? Is it a primary source or secondary source? Does the source document its own sources in a trustworthy manner?

    HOW was the source produced? Does it have a recognized publisher or sponsoring organization? Was it subjected to a process of vetting, such as peer review, through which authorities in the field addressed its quality?

    WHERE did you find the source? Was it cited in an authoritative work? Was it among the results of a search you conducted through a scholarly database? Did you discover it through a commercial search engine that may weight results by popularity or even payment?

    WHEN was the source published? Could its information have been supplemented or replaced by a more recent work?

    Checklist for Evaluating Sources


    *Excerpted and adapted from the MLA Handbook 8th ed

    MLA Handbook Eighth Edition, The Modern Language Association, 2016, pp.10-13.