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IS 1115 TWP: A Library Guide: Evaluating information sources. How Good Is the Evidence?

Information sources establish your credibility. Use the most credible sources that are appropriate for persuading your audience.

Show me PROOF

Prevailing Opinion


  • Is this what most people believe?  Is it
    the prevailing opinion of people who are likely to know?
  • Is this information or a point of view that
    most experts agree with?
  • Is this the newest data relating to this issue?
  • Is the data time sensitive? 
  • Maybe it's okay if it was published decades ago.
    In some cases, older articles (called seminal articles)
    are the most respected information sources.
  • Will the currency of your information source affect the
    credibility of your argument?
  • Could you defend this as a good source of information?

Evidence Based Information

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) accused John Brennan on Monday of having been a member of the Communist Party during the Cold War, saying that the former CIA director lacks the credibility to discuss President Trump's meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

"John Brennan was a disaster as CIA director. He was a disaster as the counterterrorism official. He was a member of the Communist Party during the Cold War," DeSantis said on Fox News.

"So this is not exactly the guy I would listen to about Russia," he added.
Greenwood, M. (2018, July 16). GOP lawmaker accuses Brennan of being member of Communist Party. Retrieved August 13, 2018, from The Hill   website:

Exercise:  Prevailing Opinion

Watch the video above.  Use whatever methods you wish to gather information to examine this statement.  Wikipedia would definitely be a good source.

"He was a member of the Communist Party during the Cold War. 

So this is not exactly the guy I would listen to about Russia."

Your part in this exercise is to determine if this is the prevailing opinion on this matter?  Do most people agree?  Refer to the box at the top of this page as a guide for the kind of information you'll need to find to address this question.  Not all of the questions will apply, but be as thorough as you can as you investigate.  Keep track of where you get information to defend your point of view. 

Do you think this statement from this source would add credibility to your argument?

You'll have about 8-10 minutes to look.  I will then select someone from your group to tell the rest of the class what you have found.