Evaluating Your Sources
Finding reference materials to use isn't the only important part of any research. You also need to determine the reliability of that material.
You can find a number of checklists to use on the Evaluating Web Resources page at
One of the most basic things to do is to check the copyright date of a book you intend to use. While this information won't be as critical in a book about the Civil War, it can make a difference if you need to write about something more current. A book about breast cancer treatments published in 1990 may still include what will be a great deal of useful information, but you can't rely on it for details on treatments in use today.