5 Ways to Evaluate Online Sources for Academic Papers

We now live in the age of information. The internet, full of study tools and other learning materials, has much to do with this. All you have to do is type in your search query and you will be given thousands of answers to a single question.

While the availability of information is useful for university students, it does present one important challenge: How do you evaluate which papers or essays would help in your pursuit of education? To find university essays, journals, and other materials of value, you need to consider the following criteria:

Updated or Current Paper

If you are working on a current events paper, you need recent sources of information. This is especially true for statistical data and other similar information. Citing sources that are a few months old is defensible, but anything older than that would put doubt into the validity of your work.

However, this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to find a peer-reviewed academic article that discusses the topic you are working on. One way to work around this is by quoting older studies on a related topic then piecing them together with current, albeit non-scholarly papers until you connect the dots.

Authoritative Source

Once you find university essays and other academic papers related to your topic, check the credentials of their authors. The writers of these papers must have a sufficient level of expertise and knowledge on the subject. What is more, they must be considered as authorities in the industry for their word to bear weight and your subsequent work to stand up to scrutiny. If you are going to make a claim in your paper that is based on other people’s work, the source must be authoritative.


If you are building on other people’s papers to finish your work, then these sources must be topically relevant to yours. This will help you present more information that is cohesive and useful. Beyond being topically relevant, your source must also be time-relevant. Citing an academic paper that is ten years old might not add much value to your work, especially if it is on technology or current events.


For your paper to be credible, it must be built on accurate data and information. While the veracity of something from the internet could be difficult to ascertain sometimes, there are ways to ensure that you are getting your information from a valid source.

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One way to ensure the reliability of your source is by researching scholarly publications. There are also other study resources with vast libraries of student authored documents that can improve your own understanding of the topic you are working on. Some of these websites will give you access to study resources for a minimal fee or in exchange for uploading your own verified academic paper.

The Objectivity of the Source

To find university essays and other academic papers that can help with your own school work, make sure that the source is objective in its purpose. Usually, websites that use student-authored academic papers are designed to help other students and make more information available to them. As such, they can be good sources of information that can be used as a basis for other academic papers.

It is also important to note that several measures are in place to ensure the integrity of the system against plagiarism. Watermarking, use of plagiarism-detection tools, and collaboration with universities are some of these security methods.

Article Written By Radha She is a dedicated writer, and blogger