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Computer Science: Source Citation and Evaluation

Avoiding Plagiarism

Primary vs Secondary Sources


Primary vs Secondary Sources

Follow this link for more information about distinguishing between primary and secondary resources.

Popular vs Scholarly Sources

Follow this link for more information about distinguishing between popular and scholarly resources.


IF I APPLY/Research Process Video



A Source Evaluation Checklist

Often we seek information that confirms our own thoughts and feelings towards a topic. This is NOT RESEARCH. Research and learning comes from finding sources that speak to the truth of a topic, no matter how much it hurts  Only by keeping personal biases in check can you begin to vet information for credibility.

These steps will help you find sources that are credible and reliable in your research process.

Personal Steps (IF I)

  • Identify emotions attached to the topic.
  • Find unbiased reference sources that will provide an overview of the topic.


  • Intellectual courage is needed to seek authoritative voices on the topic.

Source Steps (APPLY)

  • Authority established. Does the author have the education or expertise?
  • Purpose/Point of view. Does the author have an agenda beyond education or information?
  • Publisher? Does the publisher have an agenda?
  • List of sources. Is the evidence reliable, sensible, and accessible?
  • Year of publication. Does the date of publication affect the information?