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U.S. History (All Sections): Evaluating Sources

This guide is your link between U.S. History and the CVTC Library!

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Vince Mussehl's picture
Vince Mussehl
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Evaluating Sources

Remember to think about the following when choosing a topic!

 

Who

  • Who/what organization is responsible for this information?
  • What are the author's credentials or qualifications? What makes him/her an authority on this subject?
  • What is the organization's mission? Do they tell you?
  • If you can't find the answers to these questions, you may want to avoid using the source.

What

  • What makes this source of information credible?
  • What is the review or editorial process that the information has gone through to ensure accuracy? None? Peer-reviewed? Editorial board?

Why

  • Why was this information source created? To Inform or educate? To Persuade? To Sell? To Entertain? To call people to action?
  • Is there a potential for bias? Are differing viewpoints presented? In a balanced way?

Where

  • Where did the information come from?
  • Does the author tell you the source of his/her information? Are sources cited so that you can follow-up and verify them?
  • If the source is a brief report on a research finding or event, can you find an original or more complete source of information on which it is based?

When

  • When was the information created/published?
  • If dates are given, can you tell what they mean? Published? Revised? First posted?
  • Can you determine if the information is current or outdated? Is it important that the information is recent?

How

  • How do you plan to use this information? 
  • Do you need an authoritative source? Do you need an objective source? Do you need a testimonial to support a particular argument?
  • How in-depth is the information? Does it provide enough detailed information for a college level research paper?

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