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Sociology: Evaluate Your Sources

Always Evaluate the Quality of Your Sources!

Evaluating Sources

Use the Evaluation Criteria Below to Evaluate the Quality of Your Source.

  • If your source does not satisfy these criteria, you may want to find a different, more reliable source
Currency
  • Does the source list a publication or “last updated” date? Where?
  • How current must information for your topic be? Why?
  • Is older, historical info important for your topic? Why?
Reliability
  • Where do the source’s facts or info come from? How can you tell?
  • Does your source take the time to go through a review or editing process before it is published?  How do you know?
Authority
  • What are the author’s or organization’s qualifications, credentials, expertise, affiliations, experience?
  • Is the author an authoritative person or organization? What makes the author “authoritative” for your topic?
Purpose
  • Why is this info being published? To inform, teach, sell, entertain, persuade, other? How did you determine this?
  • Does the publisher/sponsor have biases?  How did you determine this? Is bias acceptable for your topic?

Video: Research 101: Credibility is Contextual

Source: "Research 101: Credibility is Contextual" by Anna Eisen, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Learn about how credibility depends on many factors including the author, audience and purpose.