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SOCIOL 333: Quantitative Analysis of Sociological Data: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources

Currency

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • If this is an online source, are the links functional?

Relevance

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is this written for?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level?

Authority

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on this topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?

Accuracy

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?

Purpose

  • Is this source created to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propoganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Peer Review in 3 Minutes

Scholarly Journals Vs. Popular Magazines

Note: Advance slides forward and backward with arrows. Click on  to expand to full screen.

Review the slides above to learn how to:

  • Distinguish between a popular and scholarly source
  • Identify common characteristics of popular and scholarly articles
  • Understand the concept of the "peer review" editorial process