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Comparative & International Politics: Evaluating Resources

Factors Involved in Change or Stability of Political Systems, General International, U.S. Foreign Relations, and Foreign Regional Resources

Evaluating Resources

  1.  Who created the resource?  How is their authority constructed?  Do they have a subject expertise, such as through their scholarly background? Or from their societal position, such as through holding public office or having a title?  Or do they have special experience, such as participating in or living through a historic event?  Do they have an identifiable bias and if so, what is it?  Is the publishing entity itself considered reliable?
  2. Are there factors that might temper the credibility of a resources?  Did the resource cite its sources?  Is it missing viewpoints?  Is it too old to be relevant?  Does the author or publishing entity tend towards always representing a specific world viewpoint? 
  3. Why was this piece written?  Was it written to be an informative piece?  Was it written to sell a product?
  4. Does it meet your information need?  Does this resource relate closely enough to your research topic?  Does it relate to your other sources?
  5. How will you use this resource?  Will this be a piece that you are arguing against?  Will this support your argument?  Will you be able to find other resources to support your argument from other viewpoints?  Will this act as background information?


Sample Research question: How will Northern Ireland be affected by Brexit?


Londonderry bombing: Resident's allowed home after security alerts:


A car bomb has stirred fears that Brexit will blow up peace in Northern Ireland.  That isn't likely:


Authority is Constructed and Contextual


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