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How do I know if the Information I find is reliable?
information you find with a critical eye! Consider these points
when evaluating web sites, articles and books:
- Who wrote it?
- What ideas is the author trying to promote?
- Does the author seem to favor one idea over another?
- Could this affect the conclusions drawn?
- that the author's name is given
- where the author works - the author's affiliation
- who published the article
- the type of journal in which the article
is published (hint: most scholarly research appears in
journals that are refereed or reviewed by peers - sometimes
called "peer reviewed" journals)
- the reputation of the newspaper in which the article is published (is it from the Washington Post or the National Enquirer?)
the conclusions in the paper seem justified? Do the conclusions make
sense - i.e., would you feel
comfortable drawing the same conclusions?
you may not feel qualified to judge research in areas that are
unfamiliar, evaluating a research paper involves little more than being
critical of what you read and using a little common sense.
- Where's the information from? (see "Who?")
- the type of journal the article is published in or the reputation of the newspaper
- if the work was done by the author
- if the author is summarizing others' work ("secondary" source) - if so, are
the sources cited (i.e. footnotes and/or a bibliography)?
- if statistics are given, is the source named?
- How old is the information?
- Is it too old to be useful (this can
vary, depending on the area & type of information)?
- when was the article written?
- when was a web page last updated?
- is it possible that there are newer statistics?
more information about evaluating information, see the following
web pages or Ask Us!: