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FYS 100 (36) - Bioethics: Evaluating Sources for Quality

Think like a reporter!


When evaluating a source for quality, use the same "5 W's" of journalism:

Who?  What?  When?  Where?  & Why?

Who produced the document, image, video, sound file, etc. and what do you know about them, their credentials, and their motives?

What is the factual or emotional content of the source and does it reflect reality?

When was it produced and does that time frame alter its potential usefulness?

Where was it published and does that publisher evaluate sources before publishing them?  Is it a peer-reviewed publication?  Does the place of publication reflect on the competence or impartiality of the source?  Is this a re-publication and, if it is, where was it originally published?

Why was the item produced and published?  To educate?  To influence?  To sell something?  To promote the creator?

What is a Peer-Reviewed Article?

Evaluating websites


On the World Wide Web, scholarly researchers face the challenge of navigating and extracting useable information from over 100 million indexed sites and over 46 billion pages. Here are some signs of a good scholarly web resource:

Trusted URLs

.edu, .gov, .mil contain the most reliable and unbiased info

Authority

Look for the author's name, credentials and affiliation to give clues to the contents' quality and objectivity. You should expect the same information quality from a web page as you would from a scholarly print or database source. For pages authored by organizations, look for the site's "About Us" section.

Currency

When was the page created or last updated?

Bibliography

Sources used for the page should be cited and working links provided for more information on the topic.

Accuracy

Trustworthy sites should not have spelling, grammatical or factual errors.