What is the purpose of the source?
What is the scope of the source?
Who published the source?
How current is the source?
What is the PURPOSE?
You need to ask yourself why did the author write this and who did they want to read it?. For example, is the author a college professor or researcher who wants to have a particular scholarly conversation? Does the author cite or reference other research about the topic, or is this a personal response to an issue or text? ***Does the author have some kind of financial reason to have a particular point of view? ***Does the author work for an organization with a known viewpoint on the issues discussed in the source?
It's important to make sure that you ask these questions so that you'll know whether a source is a biased or wants you think the way they think.
For example, if I work for a company that pollutes the water in your area, I wouldn't include that information in my paper about the company. I would be biased.
But if I worked for a company or organization that researched pollution, I would have researched what companies pollute the water and I would not have a reason to be biased.
What is the SCOPE?
Is this information going to be useful to me?
How detailed is this information?
Is this background information that I need?
Will I need other sources if I use this source?
How Current is the Information?
For research on scientific topics that includes data, you want to use the most current information. If you are using material older than 10 year, you may want to check with your teacher.
Who Published this information?
Is the publication from an academic journal?
Is it published by an organization with a known viewpoint or financial stake in an issue?
***Information published by companies or organizations with political affiliations or financial interests might shape the information in the source.