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Communication Studies: Evaluate information

Evaluating websites

When conducting research, first consider the type of information you need to make your arguments in your paper. Do you need statistics? A case study? General information? Qualitative data? Once you know what kind of information you need and begin to search for it, you'll want to ask yourself this question:

Given all the information available online and in print, why am I choosing to citeTHIS particular book, article, data, or website?

Additionally, you can consider the following criteria to make this evaluation:

Authority: Who wrote the information and what are his or her credentials? Can you verify them? Is there an organizational sponsor? If so, what do you think their purpose of sponsorship is?

Purpose: What is the purpose of the information? Who is the intended audience?

Timeliness: When was this information published? How current is it?

Objectivity: Can you detect any bias? Or is the information presented objectively?

Support: Does the author cite his or her sources? If so, are those sources respectable? Can those sources be verified?

More information and writing help is available on the Library 101 guide

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Robyn Reid
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Librarian for: Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Communication Studies, Education, Geography, History, Military Science, Political Science, Sociology