Wiki-How has a good, short article on how to evaluate the credibility of a source (Thanks, Mike!). While this article was obviously written in the context of an internet-based source, there is the possibility of a broader application here.
The main points are:
- Think about how reliable you need the information to be. (Comment: I particularly like this as a starting point.)
- Consider the medium with which you are working.
- Research the author.
- Check the date. (Comment: I would add check the date of the information not just the date of publication. I've been burnt on this one...)
- Investigate the publisher.
- Determine the intended audience.
- Check the reviews.
- Evaluate the source's sources. (Comment: This is a particularly effective way to teach source reliability to students. They don't expect it, which makes the less more "memorable")
- Identify bias.
- Investigate the financial or funding sources for sponsored research.
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