Identify evidence in the articles and books you find.
Go back to the original source of the information.
Find other, similar sources.
Do related sources agree? Does information differ?
These questions are starting points for judging the relevance and perspectives of the articles and books you find.
Evidence in Popular Sources
In popular sources look for links to supporting resources or mentions of studies, authors, or organizations. Be sure to follow up on these clues. What types of sources were referenced? Was information taken out of context?
In scholarly sources, you'll find citations that will lead you to previous or related research. You can follow up on these clues as well.
The RECAP criteria are helpful when you evaluate your sources:
How relevant is this source to what you are trying to accomplish? Is it too broad or too narrow in scope?
Would you be better served by another source?
Tip: Read the abstract in order to determine relevance.
Can you verify the information presented? Is each assertion supported by evidence or common knowledge?
Does the author explain their methodology? Have their claims been checked by an editor or reviewer?
Can you check the author’s sources?
How up to date is the information? If it isn't current/recent scholarship, are you choosing older sources deliberately?
Can you identify the author?
What is their area of expertise? What are their credentials?
Do they have an obvious bias or agenda?
Why did the author write this publication?
Did they want to inform, persuade, or entertain?
What audience did they have in mind?
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