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Some of the graphics on this guide were adapted from the Research Process guide created by Kirsten Setzkorn, Humanities Librarian at Cedarville University. Thanks to Kirsten for permission to adapt her content!
Why Is It Important to Evaluate Your Sources?
Resource evaluation is a vital part of beginning any project, whether academic or for personal knowledge. As a researcher you will need to take an objective view of any source you are considering.
By utilizing the 5Ws (who, what, when, where, why), you will be able to make an informed decision on whether a source is appropriate for your project.
But how do you know which type of resource is best for your project and which individual resources are the best to use?
Watch the short video below to get started...
What Happens When You Don't Evaluate?
There are many problems that can arise if you do not evaluate your resources. The most damaging for academic writers is when a source is selected to support a topic but then the source turns out to be false.
What if you were researching this topic and used one of these papers as a source for your research project? Now your research is also false.
This is an extreme case, but everyday people create new websites and publish information that is inaccurate, fabricated, and/or biased. It is vital that you know how to evaluate information so that you can make informed decisions on the sources you choose to use both in your academic research but also in any research for personal knowledge you conduct.
The comic to the right illustrates what happens when someone decides to post made up information on Wikipedia and how fast the information can spread and be used by other authors as fact.
Need Help Evaluating Resources?
Make sure to discuss your resources with your professor
Confirm the resources you are planning to use match the requirements for your assignment