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Discovery Seminar - Nerds Win Championships - Binney - Fall 2021

  Evaluating Sources

Some of the questions you should ask when evaluating sources of information are:

  • Audience? Who will be reading this source?
  • Author? Who wrote this source?
  • Credentials? What are the credentials of the author? Can you tell if they are an expert on the subject? 
  • Are there sources or links to other information about the topic? Yes (If so, what kind?) or No.
  • Purpose? What is the purpose of this source?
  • Language? How easy or difficult to read or understand will most people find this source?
  • Publisher? Who published this source?
  • Source of information reliable? Would you trust this source? 
  • Scholarly/Popular? Is this source scholarly or popular?
  • Peer Review? Is this source peer-reviewed? How can you tell?

  News Literacy


When doing research, you may read news articles to get background or up-to-date information on a topic. How can you tell if coverage of an event is comprehensive and reliable? Mike Caulfield, head of the Digital Polarization Initiative of the American Democracy Project, recommends applying the Four Moves or SIFT. These were designed to evaluate news stories and other posts.

Stop, Investigate the Source, Find Better Coverage, Take Claims, Quotes, and Media to the Source

The key thing to remember is that it's always a good idea to do some "external" searching after you read information of any kind - this means searching around for other sources that corroborate what you're reading, or provide more context.

How do you determine if the report you're reading is a reliable account?

  What Information is Reliable?


Some information that can help you:

  • Author: credentials, past work, motivation
    • Remember that authority based on experience and context: I am qualified to answer questions about librarianship or research, but I am not a good authority on Biblical scholarship, or experimental cancer treatments, as I have no experience in those fields
  • Publisher: how long have they been around, what else do they publish
  • Funding: who funded it, conflicts of interest
  • References: are there any, what are they
  Practice

Which one of these sites do you feel is a more reliable source for information on children's health? Why?

                  American Academy of Pediatrics                                 American College of Pediatricians

American Academy of PediatricsAmerican College of Pediatricians

  Practice

Suppose you found this article while searching for sources. Is it reliable? Why or why not?

  Practice

How would you check these Tweets for accuracy? How would you check the knowledge and perspective of the user?

Tweet 1

Tweet 2

Tweet 3