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Understand and Evaluate Sources

Evaluate Sources

It is important to evaluate sources for quality and credibility before using them in your research or assignment. 

Authority

  • What makes the author(s) an authority on this subject?
  • Does the author cite their experience/credentials?
  • Is there any way to contact the author?
  • Where did the article appear? Who is responsible for the information presented?
  • Is the publication scholarly or peer-reviewed?
  • Is the material taken from other sources fully credited? 
     

Scope, Coverage, and Relevance

  • Who is the intended audience? 
  • Are the content and level appropriate for your assignment? 
  • What time period is covered?
  • What geographical area is covered?
  • Is the information a subset of a more comprehensive source? If so, who abridged it? 
     

Bias and Accuracy

  • How is the information presented? (fact, opinion, propaganda) 
  • If presented as fact, is it accurate? Can you find other sources verifying claims?
  • Is there a bias? (cultural, political, religious) If so, is the bias clearly stated? 
  • Currency or Timeliness
  • How recent is the information? Is it important that the information is up-to-date? (technology, medicine, science)
  • Is some of the information obviously out-of-date? Too old for your needs?

 

Quality

  • Did it use accepted methodologies for its field?
  • Is the information clearly written?
  • Is the information presented in an organized manner? Do the links work?
  • Does the author agree or disagree with most other scholars in the field?
     

Commercialism 

  • Is the presenter trying to sell something? (product, philosophy, their self)
  • Does the article or website have a corporate sponsor?