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PROVEN: evaluating information: Home


Purpose: why the information was created
Pursuade. shows headline for a newspaper editorial and an advertisement
Inform or educate: shows image of a scholarly article and links on a library website
Entertain: shows an article from the Onion, a satirical news source
Who is the intended audience and how can you tell? Academic articles are written for students and experts in a field.Look for author credentials (in this exa and specialized vocabulary. Magazine articles are written for the general public. Look for glossy photos, and easy-to-read prose
Other questions: Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state the purpose, or try to disguise it?  Can you find an about page? Is the source deliberately trying to misinform? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)?


Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information
Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Do they use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language?
Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors have a particular political, ideological, cultural, or religious point of view? Do they acknowledge this point of view, or try to disguise it? You may want information from different viewpoints for your research. It's important to be aware of which viewpoint you are reading.
Does the source present fact or opinion?  Is it biased? Does it offer multiple points of view and critique other perspectives respectfully?  Does it leave out, or make fun of, important facts or perspectives? It is important to be aware that there are perspectives outside the mainstream


newness: the age of the information
Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful and valid?
When was the information in the source first published or posted? Are the references/links up to date? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?


Relevance: The value of the source for your needs
Is the resource appropriate for how you plan to use it and the assignment's requirements?
Other questions: How useful is the information in this source, compared to other sources?  Does it answer your question or support your argument?  Does it add something new and important to your knowledge of the topic? How detailed is the information? Is it too general or too specific?  Is it too basic or too advanced? If you know the article is in English but you can't understand a word of it, then it's probably too advanced.


Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information
Do the authors support their information with factual evidence? Can you verify the credibility of those sources?  Do they cite or link to other sources? Can you find the original source of the information?
What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources?  Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources? Are there errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar?

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