Consider the following when reviewing substantive, but non-peer reviewed sources:
Authority: Do the authors have a reason to be authoritative on this topic?
Bias: Do the authors represent a group or agency that has a vested interest in how the research is perceived or the conclusion reached?
Timeliness: Is the material relevant/timely? Is it too recent, meaning it cannot be verified in another source?
Evaluating News Sources
Consider using a fact checking website to help you evaluate news sources.
FactCheck.org: From their mission: We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
Politifact: PolitiFact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. PolitiFact is run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, an independent newspaper in Florida, as is PunditFact, a site devoted to fact-checking pundits. The PolitiFact state sites are run by news organizations that have partnered with the Times. The state sites and PunditFact follow the same principles as the national site.
AllSides: AllSides provides multiple angles on a topic, to help weed out media bias.