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ENG 101: English Comp (Baker): Tips for Analyzing Sources

Analyzing Sources

The ways we decide whether a source is reliable are critical. Take a look at these guidelines and tools.

Not sure if something is credible?  Ask us!  Librarians can help you find and analyze sources.

Check your source! 

  Currency:

           How recent is the information?

           How recently has the website been updated?

           Is it old information that's been "recycled"?

  Reliability:

           What kind of reputation does the source have?

           Is the content of the resource primarily opinion?  Is is balanced?

           Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations? 

           Are there other sources that can corroborate the information?

  Authority: 

           Who is the creator or author?

           What are their credentials?

           Who is the publisher or sponsor? Are they reputable?

           What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?

 Purpose/Point of View:

           Is this fact or opinion?

           Is it biased?

           Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?

Some Steps to Fight Fake News and Misinformation

Be a responsible information consumer.  Here are 6 ways you can evaluate and engage:

1. Think before you share. Read the entire piece, not just the headline, before you decide whether or not to share.

2. Verify an unlikely story.  Check to see if other reliable news sources are reporting the same story.  Snopes and Politifact can also be useful in determining the veracity of a claim or story.

3. Trace the story or information back to the original story and evaluate it.

4. Help debunk fake news.

5. Rethink where you get most of your news. Expand your information network to include diverse perspectives from quality sources.

6. Think critically about your sources.  Remember that:

  • Independent sources are preferable to self-interested sources.
  • Multiple sources are preferable to a report based on a single source.
  • Sources who verify or provide verifiable information are preferable to those who assert or imply.
  • Authoritative and/or informed sources are preferable to sources who are uninformed or lack authoritative background.
  • Named sources where the author(s) are listed are better than anonymous ones.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please note that I do not give permission for any part of this LibGuide to be used for any for-profit endeavors, including publication.

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