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Boatwright Memorial Library

FYS 100 (37/38): Democracy and Education (Snaza): Evaluating Sources

Analyze the Source

Think about the 5W's of journalism and critically analyze your sources:

  • Who created this source of information, and what do you know about them, their credentials, expertise, and motives? How might the creator's background influence their viewpoint or intention?
  • What is the the source? Does it fall into a distinct genre - a documentary, an opinion piece, a scholarly journal article? Does it convey factual or emotional content? How can you tell? 
  • When was this source produced, and does that time frame affect its potential usefulness, value, and reliability?
  • Where was the source published, what does this reflect about the potential bias of the source?
  • Why was this source created? To express an opinion? To educate? To persuade? To sell something? To promote the autho

In addition to:

  • From what disciplinary perspective is the article written? Does the author have any relevant credentials?
  • What question(s) is the author asking?
  • What data does the author analyze to answer the question (observing life in schools; running pedagogical experiments; analyzing historical documents; reading other studies, etc.)?
  • What interpretive methodology does the author bring to bear on his or her “data”?
  • What answer does the author propose?
  • Finally, how does this article specifically connect to your own research project?
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