Research Survival Guide

                                  
Page 8 

In evaluating content consider:

  • Does the author present well-supported arguments and valid research?
  • Is the information biased? Is only one side being presented?
  • Does the source help you answer your research question?
  • Does the information presented seem accurate? Are the facts verifiable?
  • Is the source (e.g. book, academic journal, website) a respected one within its field?
  • Is the document presented in its entirety? Or is it only a
    segment, a chapter, or an abridged version of the original?
  • Is the information specific enough/broad enough for your research? (for a short paper a broad overview might be okay, for a longer paper you’ll probably need some detailed information).

To find answers to these questions:

  • Read and assess the content
  • Check how statistics and facts were collected and to whom they are attributed;
    all should be referenced with a source
  • Determine whether the source is an opinion piece
  • Check for a bibliography or a list of references so you can verify the information presented
  • Judge whether the source is popular or scholarly; make sure you are using the appropriate
    type of source for your assignment

Careful!  Resources that don’t have documentation to back up statements may be biased. While all information has a degree of bias, you don’t want to utilize resources that present opinions without documentation to back it up.

Beware!  Just because a source includes well documented sources, those sources might be biased, inaccurate, or made up. When you find a list of references take some time to look it over and assess if the sources are scholarly and reliable.  And Look out for “emotionally charged” language . . . this may be a tip-off that the resource is biased.

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