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Evaluate Your Sources
Consider these criteria (with guiding questions below) when evaluating your sources:
- Are there noticeable errors?
- Is data clearly labeled?
- If information is provided from other sources, are those sources cited so that you could look for them?
- If the author makes conclusions, are they based on evidence?
- Can you identify the author?
- Are their levels of education, experience or expertise clearly presented?
- How was the information obtained? Is it based on experience and observation, opinion, or research?
- Who is the intended audience?
- How can you tell?
- How does that influence this source?
- Is this source comprehensive? If not, what information does it lack?
- Is there supporting evidence provided, such as charts, maps, graphs, photos, documents? Would this be a better source if there were?
- Can you determine how old (or new) the information is?
- Does the age of the information affect its usefulness?
- Is there a difference between the age of your source and the age of the information your source contains?
- Why was this information produced? Is there a "hidden agenda" or motive?
- Does the author deal with both positive and negative evidence? Do they seriously consider more than one side of an issue?
- Does the author justify their conclusions or ask you to accept them on faith?
If you need help, Ask a Librarian!
Last updated by andjsmit on 02/06/2009