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Critical Thinking Activity: The Importance of Evaluating Sources

Where do you get your information?

We live in a world where information comes from anywhere, at anytime, written by anyone, for any reason. 

That's why it's so important to know how to evaluate sources:


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?


EBSCO (library database)




In the examples above...

...we have a sample Google search and a sample library database (EBSCO) search using the same search phrase: "climate change it not real." 

Note that both platforms present factual information and credible resources, despite the search phrase indicating that the user is suspicious of the facts surrounding global warming. 

  • Is this because the sample search was performed on a librarian's computer, therefore the librarian's search history impacted the results?
  • Or, is this because search engines are making a concerted effort to fight disinformation? 

It may be impossible to know, so:

Where you come in: Evaluating Sources

  • No matter where you get your information, the key is to understand how to properly evaluate a source to determine whether or not it is trustworthy.
  • When you leave the university, you won't have access to the library's resources, and you will be at the mercy of freely available information, and you will only have your critical thinking skills to guide and support you. 
  • Be responsible. Be mindful. Create and share information ethically.