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How Do I Identify Credible Sources?

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Tips for identifying credible/reliable resources for research papers.

Tips for identifying credible/reliable resources for research papers.

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  • 1. How Do I Identify Credible Sources?
  • 2. How Do I Identify Credible Sources? • Keep these questions in mind as you choose and gather information from research sources.
  • 3. 1. Does the writing seem too good to be true? • Sometimes content seems so amazing that it makes a reader wonder if it’s true or not. Beware of this as it can indicate unreliability and inaccuracy. Ask these questions to help you determine if the writing might be largely untrue:
  • 4. 1. Does the writing seem too good to be true? • Does this information seem unbelievable? • Does it make sense to you or others? • Does what you read conflict with something you already know to be true? • Does the writing seem like hyperbole where something is grossly exaggerated? • Is there a way to check this information out so you know whether it is true or not?
  • 5. 1. Does the writing seem too good to be true? Example
  • 6. 1. Does the writing seem too good to be true? Live Cow Lowered Onto Floor Of U.S. House Of Representatives WASHINGTON—Cautiously maneuvering the animal above Congressional chambers as a chorus of snarls and growls erupted from below, U.S. Capitol handlers carried out routine legislative feeding procedures this morning by lowering a live cow onto the floor of the House of Representatives. “All right, chow time!” shouted a feeding supervisor, who lowered the 800-pound heifer into the baying horde of lawmakers and then waited around 30 seconds for the sounds of panic and gnashing teeth to die down before lifting the animal’s skeletonized remains back up from the floor. “Let’s bring ’er up, fellas. Whoo-weee! Looks like they were hungry today, yes sir!” At press time, sources reported the blood-soaked legislators had resumed their scheduled hearing on H.R. 3193.
  • 7. 1. Does the writing seem too good to be true? • Does this information seem unbelievable? • Does it make sense to you or others? • Does what you read conflict with something you already know to be true? • Does the writing seem like hyperbole where something is grossly exaggerated? • Is there a way to check this information out so you know whether it is true or not? Is it a reliable source?
  • 8. 1. Does the writing seem too good to be true? It is not a reliable source. It is from a satirical news website called The Onion.
  • 9. 2. Who wrote this information? • Identifying the author can help you determine the credibility and truthfulness of your source. Consider these questions:
  • 10. 2. Who wrote this information? • What is the author’s education, training, or experience as it relates to this content? • Does he or she have a professional title or is he or she recognized as an authority? • Is the author connected with an organization? If so, can you determine if it is a respectable organization? • Can you contact the author or the company? • If the author is unnamed, can you take extra steps to find information about this author?
  • 11. 2. Who wrote this information? Example
  • 12. 2. Who wrote this information?
  • 13. 2. Who wrote this information? • What is the author’s education, training, or experience as it relates to this content? • Does he or he have a professional title or is he or she recognized as an authority? • Is the author connected with an organization? If so, can you determine if it is a respected organization? • Can you contact the author or the company? • If the author is unnamed, can you take extra steps to find information about this author? Is it a reliable source?
  • 14. 2. Who wrote this information? It is not a reliable source. It is also from The Onion.
  • 15. 3. When was this information written? • For certain topics, how old the information is can impact the reliability and accuracy. Consider the following: • Does the author include a date for the information written? • Is it important that the information be current or are you researching a topic from long ago? • (For websites) Do the links on the site still work or are they outdated?
  • 16. 3. When was this information written? Example
  • 17. 3. When was this information written?
  • 18. 3. When was this information written? • Does the author include a date for the information written? • Is it important that the information be current or are you researching a topic from long ago? • (For websites) Do the links on the site still work or are they outdated? Is it a reliable source?
  • 19. 3. When was this information written? It is not a reliable source. The information is out dated. It is also from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a reliable source.
  • 20. 4. Can the information be verified? • To check the accuracies of information, we might consider these questions: • What sources does the author of this information use? • Are these sources listed in the article? • Does the author include a works cited or other links to provide additional resources or original source information? • Are there identified sources for any data or statistics in the content? • Can you find other sources that share the same information or is it the only source?
  • 21. 4. Can the information be verified? Examples
  • 22. 4. Can the information be verified?
  • 23. 4. Can the information be verified?
  • 24. 4. Can the information be verified? • What sources does the author of this information use? • Are these sources listed in the article? • Does the author include a works cited or other links to provide additional resources or original source information? • Are there identified sources for any data or statistics in the content? • Can you find other sources that share the same information or is it the only source? Which one is a reliable source?
  • 25. 4. Can the information be verified? Only the second article is a reliable source. It cites sources and is from a peer-reviewed academic journal. The first article is NOT reliable.
  • 26. 5. How might the tone or style of the writing reflect its credibility? • The actual design of the SOURCE will not necessarily mean it is unreliable. What is most important is the actual writing. The way in which an article is written can reveal clues about its credibility. Consider the following:
  • 27. 5. How might the tone or style of the writing reflect its credibility? • Does the article have several grammar, spelling, punctuation, or capitalization errors? • Is the writing emotional and include language that has a bitter, critical, or demanding tone? • Is the writing so informal that it seems hard to trust? • Does it seem unfair or extremely slanted to a point of view and biased? • If it is biased, are there facts to back it up or other sites to verify what it states? • Does it seem like it would anger or manipulate people?
  • 28. 5. How might the tone or style of the writing reflect its credibility? Example
  • 29. 5. How might the tone or style of the writing reflect its credibility?
  • 30. 5. How might the tone or style of the writing reflect its credibility? • Does the article have several grammar, spelling, punctuation, or capitalization errors? • Is the writing emotional and include language that has a bitter, critical, or demanding tone? • Is the writing so informal that it seems hard to trust? • Does it seem unfair or extremely slanted to a point of view and biased? • If it is biased, are there facts to back it up or other sites to verify what it states? • Does it seem like it would anger or manipulate people? Is it a reliable source?
  • 31. 5. How might the tone or style of the writing reflect its credibility? It is not a reliable source. It is from Twitter. Tweets are not reliable sources.
  • 32. 6. Why does the author write this information? • Sometimes people write articles for reasons that contribute to unreliability, bias, and untruths. This doesn’t mean that a company writing an article about something it is passionate about will be unreliable or that a person who writes a persuasive piece is completely biased. Argument papers are by nature meant to persuade a reader, so take this into account while reading. As you read sources, use your judgment and the clues about credibility to make sure you access the information you need to satisfy your task.