47 Combining the Factors

Teaching & Learning, University Libraries and Christina Frasier

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate whether sourcing is adequate for the duration of an essay or other writing project.
  • Combine factors key in assessing sources.


Once you’ve considered each factor used in evaluating a source, it’s important to draw conclusions as to the relevance and credibility of your source.

When Should You Stop?

Students often don’t know when they should stop trying to find and evaluate sources for a particular project. How many sources are enough? It’s hard to say, exactly. But you’ll need enough to meet the information needs of your project and to meet the requirements your professor told you about.

Furthermore, you may change your mind as you continue working on your project. There is probably not a researcher alive who hasn’t thought he or she had enough relevant and sources, only to change their mind later when they were actually writing the final product.

The Sources Checklist below may help you decide what you have enough of and to keep track of needs yet to be met. If you need to, you can use it multiple times as you work on the same project.

Have you found enough sources that are relevant and credible to:

  • Meet the number and kind of sources your instructor required?
  • Answer your research question?
  • Convince your audience that your answer is right or at least reasonable?
  • Describe the situation surrounding your research question so your audience will know it’s important?
  • Report what others have said about your research question? 

When you can answer these questions confidently, you are finished!

Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research, Teaching & Learning University Libraries, CC BY 4.0


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Combining the Factors Copyright © by Teaching & Learning, University Libraries and Christina Frasier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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