Answered By: Lora Cowell
Last Updated: May 23, 2016     Views: 6

When you evaluate a source, it should address currency, credibility, and relevance.  

The impact of currency will depend on your topic. Consider whether the information in your topic has been subject to recent or rapid change.  If it has, be sure that you justify the use of any older information (for example, note if you are using it for historical comparison).

You establish your own credibility by assuring your reader that you have used reliable/credible sources in your own research.  Credibility is generally proven by examining your author's credentials (does he or she have professional expertise or experience in the topic they are writing about) OR have they provided evidence of their own research practices (sources noted, experts quoted).  

Finally, you should establish the sources relevance to your own research question.  Did it provide new or substantial information that you can use?

 Your final evaluation should follow a pattern similar to this:

Published in 2004, this source offers dated information that is nearly ten years old. I will use this information alongside newer information found about ebook censorship.  This information is credible because the reporter has quoted credible experts, including Dr. Sam Hatton, a professor of Information Studies at Spink University and strong advocate for intellectual freedom.  The reporter also cites a number of credible sources, including data collected by the Educational Media Association.    In regards to my topic, school censorship, this article is relevant because it allows me to compare how censorship in schools has changed since the introduction of ebooks.  

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