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what methods can i use to identify potential authoritative resourses

Last Updated: Mar 31, 2014  |  869 Views

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Hi Priscilla,

To identify credible sources, there several good questions to ask yourself:

1. Who wrote this document  or website?  Check and see if there is a name, biography, or "about" for the resource you are looking at.  Check the qualifications of the person or organization behind the book or website. Find out if the resource was written by a credible author. For websites, it's also good to check the domain name.  If it's a ".edu" or a ".gov" that means that the webpage is that of an academic institution, or a governmental entity, respectively. ".org" could mean a non-profit, charitable group, lobbying group, or religious group. 

2. Is there a bias?  Is the information provided opinion or fact?  Does the author or organization writing this document or website have a particular agenda?  Are they trying to sell you something or convert you?  Does the document or website use inflammatory language? Is this information accurate and can it be verified from a known, credible source?

3. Is this information current?  Has the website been updated recently?  Do links from the website lead to out of date information?

4. Who is the intended audience of this document or website?  Was it written for a scholarly audience?  Was it written for a personal blog? Was it written for a newspaper? Was it written for a respected institution?

5. What is the tone of the piece?  Academic? Serious? Is it a joke or satire? 

6. Is there documentation? Did the author cite their sources? Check the accuracy of the sources cited by the author as well and make sure they are legitimate.  If your resource is authored by an organization, look into the organization and ask yourself these same questions.

Please let us know if you have any other questions on this topic!

Answered by Alivia ZappasBookmark and Share

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