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BIOL 201/202: Evaluate Info

Resources for students in the introductory biology courses - Molecular and Cellular & Evolution and Ecology.

Evaluating Your Sources

Carefully evaluate all sources you encounter, especially those you find outside the library databases or sources that are not peer-reviewed. In your career, you may encounter many types of information including newspaper articles, investigative journalism, magazines, trade publications (news for a specific field, such as higher education or biotechnology), videos, and online websites. How can you tell if you're looking at a quality source?

  • The publisher or organization should be easy to spot
  • Google the organization - they should have a website, Wikipedia page, and be referenced in other sources
  • Pay careful attention to the date
  • If an individual author is listed, you should be able to find their credentials and area of expertise
  • Reliable sources list sources and accurately represent the claims in those sources
  • Click on a couple sources to see if their evidence is reliable
  • Google a few things about the source or click around on the website to see what they're all about
  • Be wary of broad or exaggerated claims such as "everyone says" or "many articles state", especially if they don't provide sources for those claims
  • When evaluating, also consider things like charts, graphs, images, and video

Many reputable scientific publications and journals also publish a "news" section. These tend to be much more reliable for scientific news than other types of news outlets. If you ever have questions, ask your professor or librarian!

Is it CRAAP?

Static Media Bias Chart

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