When selecting sources to include in your research paper, it is important to critically examine the credibility of the information presented. Applying criteria to differentiate between varying degrees of quality, recognize bias and conflict of interest, and look beyond advertising and marketing strategies is key to ensuring the information presented in your paper is accurate. You may also be required to include scholarly sources your bibliography.
Research Tip: Evaluating print sources differs from electronic and requires you to engage in the practice of lateral reading.
When consulting any source, consider:
Process for Evaluating Electronic/Online Information
Before evaluating a source accessed via the web, it is important to determine if the source itself can be trusted. Failure to assess if the source is what it says it is can result in much wasted time and effort. There are three strategies that can be employed to establish the reliability of a source. These strategies include:
Remember to be vigilant and do not fall prey to professional-looking graphics, listings of academic references, and the allure of .edu or .org domains.
Based on information extracted from Wineburg, S., & McGrew, S. (2017). Lateral reading: Reading less and learning more when evaluating digital information.
Here is a list of general rules apply when evaluating news obtained through social media.
Extracted from Johnson, S.T., & Ewbank, A.D. (2018). Heuristics: An approach to evaluating news obtained through social media. Knowledge Quest, 47(1), pp. 8-14.
Minnesota State University, Mankato. (2019 December 5). Identifying scholarly information [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkmbFp8SUJM&feature=youtu.be
University of Louisville Libraries. (26 June 2020). Lateral reading [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZvsGKvqzDs