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Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources PentagonIn conducting research, you find information from numerous sources like:

  • Books
  • Databases
  • Trade Journals
  • The Internet
  • And More!

You'll need to sort through this information to determine what best answers your research question. When examining a source, keep the 5 W's in mind: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

Who?

  • Who created this information?
  • What are their qualifications?
  • \What is their educational or occupational background?
  • What about their qualifications makes them a more credible author?

What?

  • What is the source telling me about my topic?
  • Does this information actually answer the question you're asking?
  • Who is the intended audience of this information, and is it appropriate for your needs?

When?

  • When was this information created?
  • Has it been updated?
  • Is it current enough for the topic you're researching?

Where?

  • Where was this information created?
  • Has it been updated?
  • Is it current enough for the topic you're researching?

Why?

  • Why was this information made?
  • Does it want to inform, entertain, or persuade?
  • Is this information biased?
  • Does it exist to convince you to think, act, or vote a certain way?
  • Or purchase a particular product?

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