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Evaluating sources for credibility
Questions to ask yourself
It is always of great concern that you evaluate the sources you are using for your studies. These questions are applicable to sources of all kinds, but as anyone can publish on the internet you need to be extra careful when using web pages. Also be careful with what kind of information you choose to share with others.
Evaluate information by asking these questions:
- Who published this material
- What are the author's qualifications
- Is this someone in your field of study with a Ph.D.?
- What other research has this person done?
- What is this person's reputation?
- Can the author be contacted if you have questions?
- What organization is sponsoring the website?
- Do you trust the author providing the information?
- Can you verify the accuracy of the information?
- Are other reputable sites linked to it
- Is information cited properly
- Is the information written well? i.e., spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.
- When was this material published/put on the internet
- Are there links within this website that are dead?
- Is the site maintained and updated?
- If information is dated, does that make it less valuable?
- Is the information presented in a manner that makes it easy to use?
- Does the website have images that add to the purpose of the site?
- How thoroughly is the subject covered?
- What is the purpose of this page?
- Is it to inform, explain, persuade, or sell a product?
- Is the information intended for a specific audience (high school students, scholars, etc.)?
- Is the intended audience useful/appropriate for your research?
- Is information presented objectively or does it have a bias?
- If it has a bias (e.g., a specific political or philosophical point of view) does that detract from the usefulness to you?
- WHO has written?
–URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
–University? Company? Private person?
• .edu education
• .com commercial business
• .org organisation
• .se Sweden
• .uk United Kingdom
• .us USA
- WHAT is written?
–political or other tendency?
- WHEN is it written?
–useful for your purpose?
Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers