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Evaluating Sources

Page history last edited by Mrs. Train 11 years, 6 months ago

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Evaluating Sources

There are many reasons that people create web-sites - to sell products, to pass on information, to air an opinion or to broadcast their thoughts. Web-sites can be free or extremely cheap to create and are also easily put up by people with little experience in web-site design. There are also individuals who have ulterior motives that make use of the resources of the internet. 

Is the web-site that you are looking at truthful or deceptive, based in fact and reliable or does there seem to be bias or an agenda behind it? It is essential that you learn to differentiate between reliable sources and those that are less credible.


Consider the following criteria when deciding whether the material that you are using is credible or reliable as a source of information. All information applies to print and web media.


  1. Authority – Who is the author or the organization responsible for the information? Does he or she have credentials in the field of study related to the article of information? Is there contact information for the author or the publisher of a website?

  2. Currency – When was the book or website last updated? Are there references within the article to studies that are older than several years? Do all the links on the website work?

  3. Objectivity – What is the purpose behind the article? Is there any advertising on the site related to the article? Does the author attempt to sway the reader to his point of view? Does the author use emotional words to convey the message that may reveal bias or opinion? Which organization or publisher sponsors the website or information?

  4. Accuracy – Is the information supported by evidence such as scientific studies or the opinion of others in that field of study?

  5. Completeness – Does the author gloss over the subject or is their depth to the information. Does the author include suggested resources or a bibliography? Are you reading both sides of a story?

  6. Professionalism – Are there spelling and grammar mistakes in the information? Does the site or the print publication look unprofessional in design? Sometimes this can mean that the material has been written by a source that is not reliable.



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