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Evaluating Resources

Bias and Agenda

"While bias is not inherently bad, you would not want your total pool of resources to reflect the same bias. Otherwise you are only getting part of the picture. In part, this is what “coverage” asks: what part of the picture are you getting with your information resource?"

 

- David Hisle and Katy Webb, from Information Literacy Concepts, An Open Educational Resource

"Put Your Source on Trial"

Always look at materials with a degree of skepticism and evaluate the entirety of an item's contents before using it as source material.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Was the material written, published, or funded by an individual or organization with an agenda or conflict of interest?
  • Does the publication of this material serve to advance a particular purpose?
  • Does the author use strong or emotional language, present opinion as fact, or employ the use of stereotypes?
  • Are there any flaws in the selection of source materials or in the argument or experimentation which might suggest a deliberate attempt to support a specific opinion?
  • Does the material appear to be an advertisement for, or against, a particular product, service, or organization?

Remember, the presence of a cited resource is not a guarantee that the references are credible, or that the author used the resource in a manner that is complete, accurate, and in context.


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