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FYS 100 Libguide: Evaluating Resources

Developed as a part of the Credo Reference Learning Community.


Primary vs Secondary Sources

Follow this link for more information about distinguishing between primary and secondary resources.




Popular vs Scholarly Sources

Follow this link for more information about distinguishing between popular and scholarly resources.









Often we seek information that confirms our own thoughts and feelings towards a topic. This is NOT RESEARCH. Research and learning comes from finding sources that speak to the truth of a topic, no matter how much it hurts 

Only by keeping personal biases in check can you begin to vet information for credibility.

These steps will help you find sources that are credible and reliable in your research process.

Personal Steps

Identify emotions attached to the topic.

Find unbiased reference sources that will provide an overview of the topic.

Intellectual courage is needed to seek authoritative voices on the topic.

Source Steps

Authority established. Does the author have the education or expertise?

Purpose/Point of view. Does the author have an agenda beyond education or information?

Publisher? Does the publisher have an agenda?

List of sources. Is the evidence reliable, sensible, and accessible?

Year of publication. Does the date of publication affect the information?


IFLA: How to Spot Fake News How to Spot Fake News Advice from for spotting fake news.


Quiz: Can You Spot the Fake Stories? Fake news stories on the internet have been at the center of the post-US election fallout. Can you disentangle the fact from the fiction?


Don't Get Fooled: 7 Simple Steps Use these steps and questions to avoid being manipulated, fooled or exploited by viral rumors, misleading memes, imposter news sites and fake images.


TED Talk: 3 Kinds of Bias that Shape Your World View

What shapes our perceptions (and misperceptions) about science? In an eye-opening talk, meteorologist J. Marshall Shepherd explains how confirmation bias, the Dunning-Kruger effect and cognitive dissonance impact what we think we know -- and shares ideas for how we can replace them with something much more powerful: knowledge.