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CH 115: The Science of Crime: Evaluate Your Sources

Evaluating Sources

Whether a Web site or in paper, the same criteria basically apply for both. scales of justice

  • Author is identified with reliable credentials
  • Is the publication itself reliable? a reliable publisher? is the Web page URL coming from a government agency (.gov), an institution or agency (.org, .net), an educational institution (.edu) [.com or personal pages are not unbiased or necessarily reliable]
  • Are there references for further reading?
  • Do you know where their data comes from?
  • How current is the information?

Use the criteria above to decide if the source is credible, accurate and reliable.

If you need to find primary literature, check out those criteria. If all you want is some news about a topic, a newspaper will suffice. It depends on what your need is.


Evaluate a Web Page

1. is it a personal page?
2. What type of domain is it? .com? .org or net? .edu? .gov?

3. Is it published by entity that makes sense?

Does it match the name of the site?

4. Who wrote the page? Are they identified? Are they qualified?
5. When was the site last updated? Do links work? Is it important that the information is current?
6. Are sources documented with links or quotes? Can you verify that quoted text was not altered or forged?
7. Is there a bibliography or more sources provided?  
8. Is there any evidence of bias?  
9. Search the URL in (click "Site info for...") Who owns the domain? Who links to the site?
10. Is the page rated well in a directory? or or
11. Which blogs link to it? What do they say?
12. Look up the author in Google.  
13. Why was the page put on the Web?  
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