Your academic career and personal reputation depend on it!
After reviewing the table and checklist, continue on to step 3b to learn more about how to Distinguish Between Popular / Scholarly Sources
(books, articles, videos, audio programs, and especially websites...etc.)
If your source fails to meet a lot of the criteria listed below, look for another, better source.
Determining the author for a source is important in deciding whether information is credible. The author should show some evidence of being knowledgeable, reliable and truthful.
The source should contain accurate and up-to-date information that can be verified by other sources.
It is important that the source meets the information needs and requirements of your research assignment.
Some written works are ageless (e.g., classic literature) while others (e.g., technological news) become outdated quickly. It is important to determine if currency is pertinent to your research.
Every author has an opinion. Recognizing this is instrumental in determining if the information presented is objective or biased.
Style and functionality may be of lesser concern. However, if the source is not well-organized, its value is diminished.
Click below to download your own copy of the checklist
Use the technique of Lateral Reading to Validate Claims and Sources
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Ask yourself whether you know and trust the author, publisher, publication, or website.
When investigating a source, fact-checkers read “laterally” across many websites, rather than digging deep (reading “vertically”) into the one source they are evaluating.
What if the source you find is low-quality, or you can’t determine if it is reliable or not?
What if you feel uncertain about the "full story" of a fact or claim, or you suspect someone might want to mislead you (as when controversial issues are presented)?