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SSIR - The Great War, Modernity, and Memory (Yellin): Source Evaluation

Resource guide for Dr. Yellin's SSIR on The Great War, Modernity, and Memory

Related Primary Source Guides on the Web

Website Evaluation

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.

Critical Evaluation of All Sources

Think Like a Journalist

The basic rules for evaluating a source for quality are the same as the "5 W's" of journalism:

Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

 

Who produced the doucment, 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 usefulnes?

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

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