Not all information is created equal! There are good sources, bad sources and in-between sources. Above all, we are looking for sources with information that are credible and reliable.
In this library lesson, we focus on evaluating sources effectively for school work, otherwise known as - academic research.
We start by examining a source up close...
When using any kind of source whether it's from a popular magazine, book, website, online journal, YouTube video - you name it - every piece of information needs to be evaluated by asking a few questions.
Remember, you decide if the information is trustworthy and relevant to your needs - so be picky and skeptical. One or two questions won't fully determine if a source is trustworthy. Consider using the 5 W's of Source Evaluation and take a closer look at who, what, when, where, and why that information is being used before you consider it for your school work.
- Is there an author or creator?
- Can you find them in another source or website?
- Who are they? Expert? Third-grader? PhD candidate?
- Can they be contacted?
- Check the URL of the website by clicking the button below. This organization can search to find out WHO is responsible for creating a website.
Many results from a Google Search can often be assignments by teachers or by students posted to the Web and randomly found by a Google search. If so, look elsewhere. (If you see Weebly or Wix in the URL, consider that to be a give-away clue that the website was created by a student or instructor.)
Contact information can be found in the ABOUT tab or at the bottom of a page.
Remember, you are trying to determine if they are an expert on the subject and if they are a part of a reputable organization.
- Is it relevant to your topic?
- What is the point? Is it meant to persuade, inform, entertain or sell?
- What are you reading? Is it a news article, opinion or editorial, satire, advertisement?
- Is it general information or does it go into detail? Does it seem as if some details are left out?
This is where you think smarter about the source. It could be trustworthy, but is it relevant to your needs? Finding a conference proceedings from a research professor is great, but does it really help? If the webpage is covered in click bait, think again. Click bait attracts the attention of the reader to entice them to link to another website. Be careful not to click on any of that stuff! Before you know it, you are down a rabbit hole of cyber space far, far away from what you really need while the clock ticks. Not to mention the potential viruses embedded in the links...
- When was the website or article created?
- Has it been updated?
- Is there more current information elsewhere?
Using the most current and up-to-date information is important, especially when doing Science research. Content available on the Web can change by the minute. That's why when citing in NoodleTools, you include the DATE ACCESSED.
In other words, the day you saw with your own eyes the content on the webpage in case it later changes.
- From where does the content originate?
- Do the links to other sources work?
- Are quotes from people being used? If so, Google them.
- Has the image been manipulated? Try a reverse image search in Google to see any changes. Click on button below. Verify to make sure something is true.
- Does it make sense? Or is it just a lot of stuff on a webpage?
- If there are ads, are they trying to make money?
- Is it a hoax?
Advertisement is everywhere on the Web. Can you tell what kind of ads they are and for what purpose? Do some research before you hand over any kind of money, especially a charity organization! For credible and reliable information, determine for yourself by using the following websites.
Good, bad and in-between you have the know-how to evaluate sources for your research here at Lake Braddock SS and beyond.
Before you go, the Lake Braddock Librarians want to remind you about the developing issues of Fake News by watching the following video.
Created with images by ai3310X - "Information" • cocoparisienne - "periscope telescope binoculars" • Unsplash - "lens camera lens focus" • zdravljica - "who" • jasoneppink - "WHAT" • Toomuj - "say when" • Hans - "style eyes eyes view" • GregMontani - "shield road namibia" • Art Poskanzer - "why?" • PublicDomainPictures - "genuine fake factory" • Efraimstochter - "bear teddy teddy bear"