Skip to Main Content

ME 4701: Capstone Design

Information and resources for Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design.

Evaluating Information

Criteria to Evaluate Information Sources


  • Is the source relevant to your project or assignment?
  • Does the source fit all criteria defined by your professor?
  • Do you have enough time to obtain it and read it?


  • Is the source peer-reviewed (i.e., other experts in the field read and approved the article)?
  • What are the author's credentials (e.g., advance degree in subject matter)?
  • Does the source give the appearance of impartiality (no ads, no biased opinion)?


  • What are the author's credentials (advance degree, other publications)?
  • Is the publisher or information provider reputable?


  • Are the author's facts verifiable?
  • Does the data and facts presented support the conclusions drawn?
  • Are all charts, graphs, figures understandable (includes all labels and pertinent information)?
  • Can the data collected or information used withstand scrutiny on its own?


  • What is the author's bias?
  • Is there a reference list or bibliography?
  • Are other experts in the field referencing the article?
  • From what assumptions, judgements, or inference does the author proceed from?



In your research on how to create a portable shredder for organic materials as part of the compost process, you find "Build a Compost Shredder Chipper" from Mother Earth News.

Evaluating this online article:

  • The article does not cite any sources, there are advertisements, and Mother Earth News is not peer-reviewed so the article is not scholarly.
  • The article was authored by an editor at Mother Earth News so it is difficult to determine their authority.
  • It would be relatively easy (create the chipper) to verify that the directions the author is providing are indeed valid. It is possible to find bias towards environmentally-friendly practices and policies in Mother Earth News; however, I do not think it factors into this article on how to make a shredder.
  • Though this article is not scholarly nor can the credibility be proven, it is still useful for this project because it provides directions on how to make a low-cost, portable shredder, which meets several criteria of the project.
Subjects: Engineering