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Evaluating Sources of Information How to find the most reliableinformation for your research report
Questions to ask beforedetermining the value of a source1. Is the source an expert?2. Is the source biased?3. Is the website address reliable?4. Is the information complete?5. Is the information correct?6. Is the information current?
Is the source an expert?Author should have authority or expertise • Degrees • Certifications • Experience • Recommendations from other professionals for the author
Is the source biased? Does the source have certain preferences or biases? Ways to tell: – Was the author funded through a politician or business? – Does the author belong to a certain organization with an agenda? – Does the author have something to gain by providing the viewpoint he is representing?
Is the website reliable Pick the most credible websites. Look at the last three letters before the first backslash. More reliable: .mil .gov .edu .org – maybe Less reliable: .com .net
Is the information complete? All sides of issue are represented Material shows research was done and refers to other sources
Is the information correct and appropriate? Be sure to check and recheck your source with other sources – Even if you have your note card on that topic finished, be sure to check it with other sources If you find inappropriate things (flashing lights, animations, misspellings, grammatical errors, you have found an amateur website!
Is the information current? Depending on your topic, be sure the information is current: – For this project: not more than ten years old – You will need to check the copyright date
Summary – Keys to evaluating sourcesThe source should be: • An expert • Not biased – should be impartial • Be on a website with a reliable last three lettersThe information should be: 1. Complete 2. Correct 3. Current