Evaluating Resources

Are your resources appropriate for your research paper? Consider:

Authority:

  • Who is the author? Is this clearly stated?
  • What are the credentials of the author/organization?
  • On the web, consider the domain: addresses that end in .com are from commercial sites like businesses, .gov addresses are from government agencies, .edu are from educational institutions. Web addresses with a tilde (~) often indicate a personal web page.

Accuracy:

  • How accurate is the information listed?
  • Is the information in agreement with information found in another source? You should be able to find corroborative evidence in other sources.

Objectivity:

  • Is the informational content free from advertising or opinion?
  • Are advertisements/editorials clearly labeled as such?

Currency:

  • Does the source clearly indicate when it was published?
  • If the information is from a website, look for an indication of when the page was last updated. Good websites should be updated regularly.

Coverage:

  • Can you determine if the information is complete? For example, is the source an excerpt from a larger work or abridged in any way?
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