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S SCI 160 Introduction to Gender Studies (Marshman): Evaluating Sources

A Guide to Research in Gender Studies - for students in Michelle Marshman's class

Evaluate authority to select and cite more effectively

Consider the difference in these two oral citations:

"All around the world, women earn less than men and have fewer opportunities for both jobs and meaningful careers."

"According to a 2007 report from the United Nations Women: UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women: “'Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property.'"

“Facts & Figures on Women, Poverty & Economics.” UN Women. United Nations. Web. 20 Oct, 2011.

Which is more effective? Why?

Consider bias to select and cite more persuasively

Consider the difference in these two oral citations:

"According to, homeschooled children 'receive a superior education that is attuned specifically to their own needs, learning style, personality and interests.'" 

"According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, 'Eighty-five percent of homeschooled students were being homeschooled, in part, because of their parents' concern about the environment of other schools.'"

Which statement is more credible? Why?

Evaluating Information

Ask yourself: Does this information belong in my academic project or is it .... CRAAP?

 Currency: The timeliness of the information.

When was the information published or posted?  

Has the information been revised or updated?  

Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?  

If a website, are the links functional?


Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.  

Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?  

Who is the intended audience?  

Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)? 

Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?  

Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?  


Authority: The source of the information.

Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?  

What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?  

Is the author qualified to write on the topic?  

Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?  

If on the web, does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net  


Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content. 

Where does the information come from?  

Is the information supported by evidence?  

Has the information been reviewed or refereed? 

Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?  

Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion? 

Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?  


Purpose: The reason the information exists.

What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?  

Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?  

Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?  

Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?  

Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?