Searches within a specific domain or website. Keep in mind that anyone can register and post information on a .com, .net, .org domain. Sites that end in a .gov, .edu, or .mil have specific registration requirements, so websites on those domains are more controlled.
Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to evaluate the quality of any information before using it it a paper, presentation, or some other project.
As a starting point, consider evaluating the authority, objectivity, and currency of sources. Look at the items below for more details and example questions that you can ask when evaluating sources such as books, articles, and websites.
What should you ask yourself when trying to determine the expertise of the person who created the information?
Who created the information?
What kind of education or experience does the author have?
Is contact information available to verify the author's credentials?
Is the author part of a university or some other reputable organization?
Was the information published by a reputable source?
Does the author quote and cite reliable sources?
Is the information posted on a reliable site like a scholarly journal or someplace less reliable like Facebook?
What should you ask yourself when trying to determine the accuracy of information?
Does the information that's presented seem accurate?
Can you verify anything presented as a fact in another trustworthy source?
Was the information reviewed by an editor or peer-reviewed prior before being published?
Are references or citations to authoritative sources provided to support the information?
What should you ask when trying to determine the objectivity of a piece of information?
You can describe a source as being objective if it fairly represents various sides of an argument or issue. A source that promotes or favors one side of an argument can be described as biased or an opinionated work.
What’s the purpose of this information?
Is the author trying to sell a product or service?
Is the author trying to persuade you on a controversial topic?
Is the author trying to explain various sides of an issue?
Is the author sharing the results of research on the topic?
What should you ask yourself when evaluating a piece of information for currency?
When was the information published?
How old is the content of the source?
Does my topic need current information to be accurate or will older information be OK?
Does my assignment require sources that were published within a certain timeframe?
Reference librarians are available at each campus library to help you take advantage of the broad array of print and electronic resources available to you through the CCAC Libraries. For example, a librarian can help you:
Select and focus a research topic.
Devise an effective research strategy.
Locate relevant books, articles, and other information sources.
Evaluate the quality of resources.
Use research tools such as the library catalog and our many periodical databases.
Obtain materials not available on-campus.
Cite and document resources using a style guide like MLA or APA.
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