Critically analyzing sources is an important component of the research process. When evaluating a source, there are many factors that contribute to its usefulness, reliability, and appropriateness for your research. Use information from the source to help you determine whether or not you should use it for your project.
Using the questions below to evaluate your source:
Currency: To determine if the date of publication of the information is suitable for your project. What is the copyright, publication, or posting date? Why is or isn’t the date important for the message or content of the source?
Authority: To determine if the source author, creator, or publisher of the information is the most knowledgeable. Who is the author, creator, or publisher of the source or what organization is responsible for the source? How do you know if the author is an expert on the topic (e.g examine the author’s credentials and/or organizational affiliation)?
Accuracy: To determine the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content. What indications do you see that the information is or is not well researched or provides sufficient evidence? What kind of language, imagery and/or tone is used (e.g. emotional, objective, professional, etc.)?
Purpose: To determine the reason why the information exists. Why was this source written (e.g.to inform, teach, entertain, persuade)? How might the author's affiliation affect the point of view, slant, or potential bias of the source?
Currency Publication date is acceptable for the information being conveyed.
Authority The author has expert credentials or affiliations and/or the source is known, published and reputable.
Accuracy The information is well researched and supported by evidence.
Purpose The source's slant or bias is not a hindrance to the research/assignment.
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