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English Composition: Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin (21:355:102) : Evaluating Resources

This course guide was specifically created for Instructor Mark Labowskie's Spring 2013 ENG 102 class.

Ask-A-Librarian

There are several ways to seek help from a librarian:

How to Evaluate Sources

You must evaluate all sources that you find - yes, even those found on library shelves or within the library’s databases!  So, what do you need to look for?

· Relevancy of resource to your topic

· Currency – are you doing a historical study or do you want only the most recent information about your topic?

· Authority/credibility/reliability of authors/editors/publishers

o What are their credentials?

o Are they considered experts in the field?  Do other scholars cite their works?

· Accuracy / validity

o Do other sources say the same thing?

o What supporting evidence (e.g., references) is provided?

· Biases – may have an effect on the information presented

o Who is funding/sponsoring the study?

o What are the author/editor’s affiliations?  Political viewpoints?  Religious beliefs?

o Is there balanced coverage, where all aspects of the subject are discussed to the same level of detail?

o Is it just-the-facts being presented or an interpretation of the facts?

o Are assumptions or opinions being made without supporting evidence?

o What is the context in which the information was created?

· Purpose & intended audience – this affects how the information is presented

· Referrals – Further Reading suggestions or hyperlinks if it’s a Web site

 


TIP:  The general rule of thumb has been that .gov (and most .edu) Web sites are usually reliable; however, you should evaluate those just as you would the .org and .com sites!



Click on the links below for more information about evaluating information sources:

Physical Sciences Librarian

Bonnie Fong's picture
Bonnie Fong
Contact:
John Cotton Dana Library

185 University Ave

Newark, NJ 07102-1814

(973) 353-3811

Licensing Information

This guide is copyright-protected, but you are welcome to reuse it as per the license below (click for more details):

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