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- Author’s credentials
- What is the author’s educational background?
- What is the author’s institutional affiliation?
- Has the author written other publications on the topic?
- Is the source published by a well-known publishing house?
- When was the source written?
- How does that affect its value? (depends on the subject)
- Did you see the source cited somewhere?
- How often?
- Where it was cited can be informative
- Did someone you know recommend the source?
- Is that person an authority?
For whom is the source written?
What is its “purpose”?
Does it delve deeply into the subject or skim the surface?
Is that appropriate for your project?
- To the extent you can determine it, does the author support conclusions with accurate facts?
- Is the source of the facts cited?
- Are you able to verify them yourself?
- Is the author advocating a particular point of view?
- Are the arguments rational or emotional in nature?
- Are they supported by facts?
- Scholarly apparatus
- Does the source include a bibliography? Footnotes? An index?
- This is not appropriate for all writing but it allows you to verify facts and follow an argument or line of reasoning from one source to another
- Read reviews of the source (if a book)
- For journal articles, you can look for letters or response articles in the same journal (or others)