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Melissa Curtis, Librarian
Evaluation: Three questions
What is it? Why do I care? What does it really say?
You answer these three questions every time you use a source, whether you know it or not.
- Whether it is a website or a scholarly journal article...
- Whether it is for a 1st-year course or real life...
Start noticing how you answer these questions to ensure your sources are really meeting your needs.
The Three Questions:
- What is it: What is the source type and author credibility?
- Quick Wikipedia checks are okay! You can also compare what other source say about that source.
- Why do I care: Does the source type and author credibility meet your needs?
- Decide this at the beginning so you know whether to read the material or find something better.
- What does it really say: Perceive how the word choices influence the knowledge.
- The author's word choices, included and excluded information, and the aim of the publication all make a difference in how or why you would use a source.
Where to Find the Credibility Information for Sources
How to find credibility information
Find the Wikipedia article
- If an author or source is well-known enough, use the Wikipedia article to quickly check for background information and note any controversies.
- The Wikipedia page of a scholarly journal is also a good quick place to check if it is peer-reviewed.
Look on the source itself for bio information
- A journal, newspaper, magazine, book, or website likely has information on it somewhere about the author.
- If there is no author on a website, the website assumes authorship; look for an "About" page but don't use that exclusively.
Search the author or publication online
- Search the name of the author inside quotes, such as "Oliver Sacks."
- Add site:edu for scholarly journal authors.
- Add the word journalist or the name of the newspaper for journalists.
- When there is no information about an author online, consider whether they may have died before online presence was established.
Vogel Library, Wartburg College | 100 Wartburg Blvd, Waverly, IA, 50677 | Phone: 319-352-8500 | Email: email@example.com