COMM 1016: Evaluating

Evaluating sources for credibility

Evaluating author's information

When you find an article in a reputable journal how can you evaluate the author?  For instance, I found several articles that I would like to use for a paper.  I know the articles have been vetted by the editorial board, but what do I know about the author?

results in Summon

Clicking on the authors name in Summon will bring up a list of many of the articles written by the author. 

Many of Leask articles are on vaccination,while Biello's articles are also mainly on biofuels.  You can also sort by the latest published to get an idea of how recently the author wrote on these topics.

Finally google the author.  Leask's information showed she is a professor at the University of Sidney specializing in immunization.  

David Biello's LinkedIn profile shows he is a senior reporter at Scientific American and it also shows his education.


Basic Evaluation Criteria

As you decide which resources to include in your research, here are some things to think about:

  • Authority: Who wrote it? What sort of expertise do they have in this area?
  • Coverage: Is it relevant to your topic?
  • Objectivity: Is there any bias? If so, how much?
  • Accuracy: Is the information correct? Is it in alignment with other research findings or articles?
  • Currency: When was your resource produced? Does this matter for your topic?

Bias in the news