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ED673: Research for School Counselors (Keller): Evaluating Sources

Course guide for ED673

Some Things to Consider When Evaluating Information Sources:

1. Author / Editor

  • Who is the author and/or editor?
    • The author and/or editor (one or more people or organizations) should be identified.
  • Is the author and/or editor credible?
    • The author and/or editor should have credentials and expertise relevant to the topic.


2. Publisher

  • Who published this information?
    • The organization(s) that published and/or sponsored the information source should be identified.
  • Why was this information published?
    • The most credible information sources are those that have been published in order to present balanced, unbiased coverage of a topic (or at least to present both sides of an issue).
    • The least credible sources are those that have been published in order to promote a certain point of view.
    • Information about the organization(s) publishing and/or sponsoring the source can usually be found in the front or back of a printed book or journal, or in the About Us or Mission section of a web site.  You may need to do additional research on the organization(s) in order to discover a hidden agenda or bias.


3. Content

  • Is the content relevant to your project or paper? 
    • It should cover the specific aspects of your topic.
    • It should be up-to-date, if timeliness is critical for your topic. (Check the publication date or, for web sites, the date of the last update.)
  • Is the content accurate and unbiased?
    • It should be well thought out, well presented, and well supported with credible sources that can be checked. (Check the sources to see if they are credible and support the source you are evaluating.)
    • If it has been reviewed and accepted by experts in the field, there should be less chance for mistakes and bias. 
    • Keep in mind that a bias can be obvious or subtle. It can be hard to perceive a bias if you tend to agree with the arguments presented.

For more information:

To find out if a journal is peer reviewed, you can either look at a print copy of the journal or find the journal's website and check to see if there is a review process.  Another option is to look up the journal in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory to see if the journal is refereed.  

Tips for checking facts and claims found online


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