EVALUATING SOURCES

In reality, no foolproof method or technique exists to establish the credibility of a text. However, certain factors may be considered, when deciding whether an information source is likely to be accurate and reliable:

  • Is the writer real? Does he have the right qualifications needed to write that particular type of article?
  • What organization does the writer belong to? Is the organization reputed and trustworthy?
  • What is the year of publication? Is the article recently published or is too old-dated for your purpose?
  • What is the edition, in case of books or periodicals?
  • Has the information been peer-reviewed? What are the reviews of others, if any?
  • How prestigious or credible is the information source (for example, publications)?
  • Has the writer cited references for the information in the text? Are these references correct?
  • Has the writer referred from a range of information sources, or from a small number of sources? Are the information sources themselves reliable?
  • What organization funded the research?
  • Who are the intended audience? Is the material too elementary or too advanced?
  • Did the writer conduct primary research? If so, has the writer stated the kind of research conducted, methods, and the sample size? The results of primary research depend strictly on the methods used.