Evaluating sources and information has never been more important. With so much information available online through so many sources, it can be hard to figure out which ones are credible. When researching for an assignment it is vital to assess the sources you plan to use in order to ensure your own work will be considered credible and accurate. Using inaccurate or unreliable information can be avoided if you know how to evaluate your sources.
This simple ABC test can help determine the reliability and credibility of a source of information.
A = Authority
Bottom line = Sources that lack authors or organizations should be avoided. If an author's credentials or background do not stand up to scrutiny you should not use the source.
B = Bias
Bottom line = Sources that are clearly biased or intended for a purpose other than the one you are looking for should not be used. Look for sources that cite their sources and quote the works of others.
C = Currency
Bottom line = For some assignments you may need to rely on historical information, but most assignments will require current research as well. Sources that are outdated or have not been updated in some time may be a waste of your time.
Peer-reviewed articles are works that have been scrutinized by other experts in the same field as the author. The purpose of peer review is to ensure the information being presented is accurate and unbiased. It helps filter out sources that do not meet the standards of scientific or industry quality and processes.