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UNI 102 - Clark: Evaluating Sources


 Why We Should Evaluate All Sources


How an individual reasons from evidence to claims to arguments is often influenced by both rational and emotional factors, elements of one’s identity, and values and belief systems. Only by keeping your personal biases in check can one truly begin to evaluate information for credibility.


Personal steps
Identify emotions attached to topic.
Find unbiased reference sources for proper review of topic (such as Credo Reference).

Intellectual courage to seek authoritative voices on topic that may be outside of thesis.


Source steps
Authority established. Does the author have education and experience in that field?
Purpose/Point of view of source. Does the author have an agenda beyond education or information?
Publisher? Does the publisher have an agenda?
List of sources (bibliography). Is the evidence sound?
Year of publication. Does the year of publication effect the information?

Are you a critical thinker?

Green check markCritical Thinkers...

  • Are honest with themselves, acknowledging what they don’t know, recognizing their limitations, and being watchful of their own errors.
  • Base judgment on evidence rather than personal preferences, deferring judgement whenever evidence is insufficient.
  • They revise judgments when new evidence reveals error.

Red "x"Non-critical Thinkers...

  • Pretend they know more than they do, ignore their limitations, and assume their views are error-free.
  • Base judgments on first impressions and gut reactions.  
  • They are unconcerned about the amount or quality of evidence and cling to their views steadfastly.