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Not all sources are created equal. Which sources you choose will depend on your assignment and your audience.
Questions to ask yourself
- What does my instructor require?
- Whom would my audience believe or find trustworthy?
- What types of sources are available on my topic?
- What types of sources does my course subject area use?
Q: What does my assignment require (2 min)?
Q: Who is an Authority to My Audience?
The audience for your assignment could be scholars, professionals, peers, or the public. Consider who your target audience would trust. Not sure who the audience is? Ask your professor.
Authority is constructed and contextual (1 min)
Q: What Types of Sources Are Available?
After an event occurs, different types of sources on a topic become available at different times. This is called the Information timeline. If you are required to use scholarly sources for your assignment, be sure your topic is at least 6 months old.
Tip: If you are researching a recent event, think about the broader category of the event to find scholarly information about similar events.
For example: Athletes kneeing during the national anthem = athletes AND “political protest”
Q: Is this source credible?
Using credible sources makes you more credible to your audience. This video explains a few factors to consider for most sources.
Credible Source criteria (2 min)
TIP: Never trust a search tool Filter in Primo or a database
Review the information provided about the author and the creation process.
Click on the author’s name and the journal title to find more information about both.
For example, Here is the information provided for this author. The author is a professor.
We know this article is peer-reviewed because the database provides dates for review and revision of the article:
Q: How Do I evaluate Web sources? (2 min)
This video explains upstreaming, reading laterally, and bias checking, 3 techniques for verifying sources.