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evaluate a resource

Consider the following when choosing resources for your paper:
1. Authorship and Authority (Gibaldi 41-45)
~ Author Credential information:
[Note: In some cases, an organization or corporation may be responsible for a work.]

  • Educational degrees such as PhD, MD, etc.
  • Affiliations such as schools, research facilities or other organizations; and
  • Work experience.
~ Publisher and publication information:
  • Scholarly, refereed or peer reviewed journal articles undergo a higher level of screening by experts in the field prior to being published.
  • Publishers may be associated with educational institutions such as universities or national professional organizations such as American Psychological Association.
2. Accuracy and Verifiability (Gibaldi 41-45)
~ Bias or point of view
  • Look at the author affiliations or publication affiliation for potential sources of bias.
  • Note the wording of the work including the tone.
  • Note how thoroughly the author explores differing opinions.
~ Verifiability
  • Determine if the author has citations backing up any claims within a work.
  • If there is a question concerning the information, see if other sources are claiming the same thing.
3. Currency (Gibaldi 41-45)
  • The date of publication may affect how accurate it is. Certain types of information such as scientific writing have a shorter shelf-life than others. An older article on current trends in heart surgery would not be a credible source. However, an older English literature essay may or may not be a good source.
  • The date of publication may have an affect on point of view or bias. For example, an article on feminism from the 1950s may present a biased account.
Gibaldi, Joseph.  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed.
New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2003. Print.

See also, How do I evaluate a web site?

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