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Professional Ethics: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Information

            How do you know if your information is reliable?  

Dog in animal shelter in Washington, Iowa
Nhandler. Dog in Animal Shelter in Washington, Iowa. 2007. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Ask questions about all your information sources. 

General sources like brief summaries are full of very readable information on your social issue


you can end up with incorrect, out-dated and or highly biased information if you are not careful!


Maybe it was easy to find, but is it good? 

Assess: Does this information belong in my academic project or is it .... CRAP?


  • How recent is the information?
  • If a website, how recently has it been updated?
  • Is it current enough for your topic? (Is this a  field with rapidly changing information?)


  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion? Is  it balanced?
  • Does the creator provide citations or sources?
  • Can you verify the info elsewhere?

Authority / Accuracy

  • Can you find the credentials of the author or  creator of the information?
  • If a website, is a known, objective organization responsible for the information (example: .gov, .org, .edu domains)?
  • Are there obvious errors or typos?

Purpose / Point of View

  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Are there advertisements?
  • Is the creator/author trying to:
  • Sell you  something?
  • Inform you?
  • Entertain?
  • Persuade?  
  • What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this  information? Can you determine if the publisher  has a political, religious, or other ideology to  promote?