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WRIT 1120: Seminar in Research Writing: Evaluating Sources

Use the ABCs to Evaluate Sources at First Glance

As you select appropriate sources from your results list, consider the ABCs. Remember that anyone with internet access can publish on the web.

Accuracy

  • Is the source of the information provided?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Authority

  • Can the author of the page be determined?
  • Can you find their contact information?
  • Is the author affiliated with an organization, or speaking on their own behalf?
  • Are credentials or qualifications of the individual or organization presented?

Bias

  • To what degree does the author have a stated or hidden bias or agenda?
  • Does the author indicate their goal in providing the information?
  • Is there a disclaimer included on the page?

Coverage

  • What is the focus of the information?
  • What is the depth of coverage?

Currency

  • Are dates included ('first posted' date or 'last updated' date)?
  • Is the information current or outdated?

Use the SIFT Method for More Rigorous Web Content Evaluation

Once you have narrowed your potential sources to a smaller subset of your results, applly the SIFT method to choose the best options.