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Q

How do I evaluate my sources?

Last Updated: Nov 20, 2012  |  1465 Views
Topics: Research

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A

Answer

Not all information is equally valuable. Any information should be carefully examined to determine its usefulness and quality.

1. Evaluating Web Sites

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the author an authority or expert on the subject?
  • What is the author's agenda? Are they trying to sell an idea or product?
  • Do they use evidence to support fact claims, ideas, or opinions?
  • Is the information current?

2. Evaluating Articles and Books

Authority

  • What are the author's credentials, educational background, experience, past writings?
  • Is the author's name cited in other sources or bibliographies? Respected authors are cited frequently by other scholars.

Date of Publication

  • Is currency important to your research?
  • If so, when was the source published?
  • Topics in the sciences and business often demand current information. Topics in the humanities may require older material.

Objectivity

  • Is the information supported by facts and evidence, or is it someone's opinion?
Accuracy and Quality of Content
  • Can the information be verified by other sources?
  • How does the information compare with other sources?
  • If it is a book, what do book reviewers have to say?

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