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FYS--M. Gehringer FA2019: Evaluating Resources (Lib Resources)

Course website to accompany Prof. Gehringer's FYS course

Evaluate Sources

Just because something is available online, that doesn’t mean it is a website.  Online subscription databases like those from EBSCO or JSTOR are available because the library has paid to have online access to their materials, which is often more convenient for students and researchers.   The open web, however, is exactly the opposite. The information is freely available, but anyone can create and host a site without any regulation, and there are some sites which may appear factual and authoritative, but can be edited by anyone, such as Wikipedia.

When evaluating sources, it's important to keep these six things in mind: 

Authority Source Purpose
Who has written this information? What credentials does this person/group have on this subject? Is your source credible? What is the reputation of the source or content author? Who is responsible for the Web site or resource? What organization is hosting (and paying to keep alive) this page or publish this resource? Why does this site or resource exist? Why was it created? Who is the intended audience?
Accuracy Depth Currency
Is the information accurate? Can it be verified through another source? Is the language objective and impartial or is it subjective and inflammatory? Is the information or research documented? How thoroughly is the topic covered? Is it written for college level research? Is the information sufficiently complete for your purposes? When was the information on the site last updated? When was the source published? Is the information timely?


Source Cards--In-class Activity

Your group will receive a set of sources cards that include a screen shot and a citation for a resource on each card (see samples below). In your group, categorize these resources and consider how you would evaluate them in terms of college research for a topic that deals with "Millennials and Technology."

Use the criteria on this page to help you as you work. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to classify or organize these resources. In fact, each group will likely approach the task differently. Be prepared to discuss with the class why you have organized the information in this way.