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EN 101: The Process of Writing

How do I evaluate a source?

The ACT UP Method

The ACT UP method is a series of questions to guide you through learning more about a source and its context. It can help you determine that a source is or isn't suitable for your paper, and it will also help you learn more about each source you use. 



Your sources should have named authors. The author is usually a person or group of people, but it might be an organization. A reference source might have an editor of the whole work listed instead of the author of the specific section.

  • Who is the author?
  • What can you learn about them?
  • What else have they written?
  • Look at the author information given on the article, if available. Google them!


In this case, "currency" means "how current something is".

You are writing about a current conversation. Most of your sources should be recent, from the last 5 years or so. Some older sources might have a purpose, though!

  • When was it published?
  • What dates are important for your topic?


An author should provide evidence for the things they say, especially if they are trying to persuade you that their perspective is correct. 

  • How does the author support the claims they make?
  • What is the evidence they provide?
  • Can you find other sources that also support these claims? Compare to other sources you find.


Opinion pieces might be useful for your assignment, and we all have a perspective and bias. Make sure you understand what an author's perspective is and what reasons the author has for their opinion. 

  • What is the purpose of the source?
  • Does it have a stated point of view?
  • Is it trying to convince the audience of something?
  • What is the author's perspective?
  • Could there be hidden bias?


There is privilege in all kinds of publishing. These authors are probably not the only people who have something to say about this topic.

  • What other perspectives would be relevant to this topic?
  • Whose perspectives are missing?
  • Do you think your perspective is missing? By doing this assignment, you're adding your voice to the conversation!