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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

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What authority or expertise does the author have?  Can you find information about the author other than from the "about us" link on the website?

Wikipedia is often a good tool for investigating the background
and credibility of an information originator or an organization. 
Compare the information on a website's "about us" page with
information on Wikipedia.

Don't be fooled by titles such as doctor, or president, or chairman.  Verify authorship and credentials.   

If the author says he is an academic expert, is his or her degree in the same field as the subject of the information source?  A geologist, for example, even a well- respected geologist, might not be the best resource for information about nutrition.

Is the information from a reliable source such as a respected
journal, academic publisher, mainstream news outlet? 
It's worth double checking on Wikipedia.

Will citing this expert add to the credibility of your argument?

Be very suspicious of dramatic claims. 


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:

In-class exercise

Exercise:  Official

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 statement is true?  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.