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Evaluating Sources for Credibility
You have to read and think about information to evaluate it. Questions to ask yourself about a source are listed below.
- How old is the source? Can you find the date the information was created?
- How important is currency for your research topic?
- Are there any broken links on the page? If so, that might mean the page is no longer maintained.
Relevancy or Usefulness
- Does the information you find have anything to do with your topic?
- What are you trying to accomplish with the information you find? For example, are you writing a research paper, looking for a quick fact or deciding which classes to take? Does the information you find help you do that?
Why or why not?
- Who is responsible for the information? Is it a person? What do you know about that person's education or experience?
- Is the information produced by an organized group of people such as an advocacy group or government agency? What do you know about that group?
- If it's a website, is it a .com, .edu, .gov or other?
- Can you identify any errors of fact?
- Does the page list any sources or clues about where the information came from? Can you verify those sources?
Point of View, Objectivity or Bias
- Does the person, group or organization have a bias? What is it?
- What is the source trying to do? Is it trying to inform, entertain or express an opinion?
- What tone does the author use to accomplish this? For example, is the tone humorous, sarcastic, concerned, angry or neutral?
PCC "Know Your Sources" Infographic
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