Are your sources on PAR with your assignment?
This 3.41 minute video from the University of Washington explains the process by which information is published.
Is the copyright or publication date current?
If the material is dated, justification should be included for using outdated material.
Is the material to be used for background or historical purposes?
How is this document useful to your research?
How does it directly relate to the research that you are investigating?
Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? What are the credentials of the author/publisher/source/sponsor? What is the author’s occupation, position, titles, education, experience, etc.? Is the author/publisher/
source/sponsor qualified (or not) to write on this subject?
Does the source provide accurate information (cite its sources) and is it trustworthy?
What is the purpose for writing this document or doing this research? Does the author/publisher/source/sponsor have a bias or make assumptions within the source? Does the author have a hidden agenda? Is the source trying to sell you something, or is it trying to persuade you to think a certain way? Is it fact or opinion?
Magazines, newspapers, broadcasters and organizations may have a reputation for being politically left or right. The mental model is a horizontal line with starting on the left with progressive, liberal, moderate or centerist, continuing right with conservative, ultra-conservative sources. They may be associated with a particular political party, religious movement, denomination, or be secular, or they may have a one-issue cause (environmentalists). Some media outlets readily acknowledge a bias while others have unacknowledged bias and still others strive to present a variety of viewpoints. Knowing the source’s reputation alerts the reader to bias in the information it provides. Attitude should not be confused with factual accuracy.