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- Author: Who wrote the information? Is it signed by an author? What are that person’s credentials?
- Publisher: Who published the information? If it is a web site, is contact and organization information available? What can you learn from the domain: (educational: .edu; commercial: .com; non-profit: .org; governmental: .gov)?
- Citations: Is the work researched and are the ideas, facts and research supported with citations?
- Purpose: What is the purpose of the information? Is it to entertain? Inform? Advertise? Persuade?
- Audience: Who is the intended audience for the information?
- Evidence: Is the information supported by other information in the field? If a website, does it link to other credible sources of this information?
- Balance: Is the information balanced? Does it promote a particular perspective or agenda?
- Date: Is the information up-to-date?
- Updates: If a website, is the date of publication available? Is the web page updated regularly?
- Links: If a website, are the links to other information current? Do the links work?
- Relevance: Is the information relevant to your topic? What is the central point or thesis?
- Focus: How does the thesis support, develop or refute your topic? How does it work with your other sources?
- Appropriateness: Is this information source appropriate for college academic work?
Using Information to Enter Into a Professional (or Scholarly) Conversation