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GLOCHALL201: Global Challenges in Science, Technology, and Health: Evaluating Sources

Why it is important to evaluate your sources

The internet is a wonderful thing. We have more information than ever available at our finger tips, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The internet has democratized who can publish and share information, and challenged many traditional publishing models. It is this feature of online publishing - that anyone with a computer, an internet connection, and the most rudimentary computer literacy can create and disseminate information - that poses a particular challenge for researchers. While we should be in the habit of critically evaluating all the information we consume (textbooks and scholarly information included!), websites, blogs and social media should be carefully analyzed to ascertain that they are quality, credible sources.  

Here are the basic features of a source you should evaluate: 

  • Who is the author? Are they qualified? Do they have a good reputation? 
  • What is the source? A book? A journal? A blog post?  
  • When was it published? Is the information current enough for your needs? 
  • Where is is published? What biases are present in the place of publication? 
  • Why was this published? To entertain? To educate? To sell something? 

Watch the videos below to learn more about why you need to evaluate information and some methods you can use in your own research.

Evaluating sources for credibility

Peer Review in Three Minutes