Critically Evaluate Your Sources
Content and Purpose
- What is the source of information about?
- What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
- Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
- Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
- Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
- Who is the author/publisher/sponsor of the information/website?
- What organizations is the author and/or sponsor affiliated with?
- What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
- Where does the information come from? Is it supported by evidence?
- Can the information be verified?
- Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
- Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
- Who is the intended audience?
- How useful is this source in comparison to other sources available?
- Would this be a strong source to use in a research paper?
- When was the content published? Updated?
- Does the website have working links?
- Does it matter if the information on the subject is current or not?
Links for Library Instruction Session
We'll use these links in today's library instruction session:
Best Bets for Researched Argument Paper
Quick access to Nielsen Library's best databases for issues-based research:
How to Search CQ Researcher
There are many ways to identify and research topics with CQResearcher:
Explore the Featured Report, Hot Topics, and Recent Reports on the homepage.
Search for a keyword, using the quick search box or by using filters on the Advanced Search page.
Use Browse Topics which allows you to browse all reports on all topics and narrow the focus of your research.
Use Browse Reports by Date of publication, which allows you to locate the most recent reports published or to see all reports published in a particular year.
Use Browse by Issue Tracker, which allows you to see all of the reports published on a narrowly defined topic.
Use Browse by Pro/Con, which lets you select a report based on the expert Pro/Con debate feature contained within each report.