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Click the icon below to view a brief video about evaluating sources for research papers.
Evaluating What You Find: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Through the Internet, there is much more information available today than was the case only a few years ago. The information explosion places more responsibility upon the reader to critically evaluate resources.
The following four criteria can help you to evaluate your sources:
- Currency--Is the information up-to-date? Is it too dated to be useful?
- Relevance--Does the information really relate to your topic? How does it compare with other information you have located? Would you feel comfortable using the information for your project?
- Authority--Who is the author? What is his expertise? Who is the publisher? Is there contact information for the author?
- Accuracy--Is it well-researched? Is there a bibliography or references so you can locate the original source of the information? Do the facts jive with other sources?
- Purpose--Is there bias? Is the information promoting a specific point of view or is it objective?
Thinking about any type of publication, including websites, in this way will help ensure that you have located the best information available.
Things to Remember
Why evaluate sources? Remember:
- Anyone with a little time, some knowledge and small amount of money can publish on the Internet.
- No person, persons or organization reviews the content of the Internet.
- Pages are retrieved by search engines based on the page's content, not the relevancy or quality of the page.
- Much information on the Web is not updated regularly.