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Is your source credible? Don't forget to consider these factors:
Purpose : Reason the source exists
- Is the point of the information to inform, persuade, teach, or sell?
- Do the authors/publishers make their intentions clear?
- Does the information appear to be fact or opinion?
- Does the point of view seem impartial? Do they identify counter-arguments?
Authority - Author:Source of the information
- Who is the author? What are their credentials or qualifications?
- What makes the author qualified to write on this topic?
- Are there clearly defined contact information for the author?
Authority - Publisher:Source of the information
- Who is the publisher? Is it a non-profit, government agency, or organisation? How might this affect their point of view?
- What makes the publisher qualified to generate works on this subject?
- What can the URL tell you about the publisher? For instance, .gov may signify that it is a government agency.
Accuracy : Reliability and truthfulness of the content
- Where does the information come from?
- Can the information presented be verified? Is it supported by evidence that is clearly cited?
- Does the language used seem free of emotion, and does the work seem impartial and objective?
- Are there any spelling or grammatical errors? If an online source, are all links working?
- If it was reproduced, who edited/reproduced it? Where was the information originally published?
- How original are the ideas presented in the work? Do they seem to be common knowledge?
Relevance : Importance of the information to your topic
- Does the information relate to your topic, or answer the question you have presented?
- Who is the intended audience of the work? Does that audience match with yours?
- Have you looked at other sources related to this one? Does it seem there are many others on the topic?
- Are you utilizing the entire source, or just a part of it?
Currency : Timeliness of the information
- When was the information published? When was it last updated? Does it reflect the most current information available?
- How does your topic fit in with this source’s publication date? Do you need current information to make your point or do older sources work better?
- Does the source present one or multiple viewpoints on your topic?
- Does the source present a large amount of information on the topic? Or is it short and focused?
- Are there any points you feel may have been left out, on purpose or accidentally, that affect its comprehensiveness?