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Box Repository: Evaluate Information

Repository of different types of boxes and content. Go into your guide and "Add New Box" and select "Reuse Existing Box" to link to boxes here. Boxes on your page will be updated automatically when box updates occur.

More Information on Evaluating Sources

  Evaluating Sources of Information 
       OWL at Purdue

  Tips for Evaluating Sources
       Diana Hacker

  Critically Analysing Information Sources
         Cornell University Libraries

What about Wikipedia?

"Wikipedia?  It's a great place to start, and a horrible place to end, at least that's what my professor says." PIL Progress Report 2/09

Alternatives to Wikipedia

The Libraries offer large online reference collections that provide general topic overviews, relevant vocabularly, and citations for additional resources.  Below are a few examples.  Find more online reference collections here.

Evaluating Sources

This video created by Western University Libraries offers a nice overview on evaluating any kind of source.

Evaluate Stats

When working with statistical data, be sure to ask yourself:

  • Where did the numbers come from?
  • How were the numbers collected?
  • What date range do the statistics cover?
  • Who exactly collected the data?

A Few Things to Consider

Statistics are perhaps the most difficult type of information to find.  Here are a few things to think about when trying to find a statistic:

  • Who cares about this information?
    Statistics cost a lot to collect. Who cares enough about the information to collect it? Some of the most common groups who collect statistics are the government, marketers, and associations.
  • The most recent statistic is probably not from this year.
    Because statistics take time and money to collect, the most recent statistic that you are likely to find may be a few years old.
  • Follow the trail.
    Finding statistics can sometimes be an exercise in detective work. Always look at the source of the statistic. If you read an article and it sites a source, consult that source. They may have additional statistics that weren't referenced in the article.
  • Evaluate the source.
    As with all information, you should evaluate the source providing the statistic. Are they biased? Is the group or website reliable? Do they cite the source of the statistic?
  • Read the statistic carefully.
    Be sure to pay close attention to any information provided surrounding how the statistic was collected, etc. You don't want to misrepresent the statistic in an article.

- Content from Alexa Pearce, Librarian for Journalism, Media, Culture & Communication at NYU