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MS - Evaluating Sources: Accuracy

'A' is also for Accuracy

Accuracy refers to the trustworthiness of a source.

Questions to ask about the accuracy of a source

Ask yourself these questions when thinking about the accuracy of a source and its information:

  1. Is the information repeated anywhere else in your other sources?
  2. Does the source include references that clearly indicate where the author found his or her data?

How do I do this?

Your tasks:

  • Review the source's references
  • Double-check the information in other sources. Can the information be corroborated in any other source?

Remember the context

Sometimes, the accuracy of a source will be very important.

For instance, if you are writing a research paper about the effects of bullying on a child's self-esteem, it is important to use sources with accurate information in them.  

Double-checking sources 

You will want to review the source's references and double-check the information in other sources. Similarly, if you are surfing the internet for medical advice, you will want to double-check other sources to see if the information you find is accurate.

Image Source:  Book and Body by Monica H. Public Domain  

(Thank you Tacoma Community College https://tacomacc.libguides.com/c.php?g=373171&p=2522912)

Common Pitfalls

This source is the first one listed in the database/Google/catalog. Therefore, it must be the most accurate source for my needs!

Consider this:

Depending on which one of these tools you used to search for information, the results might be listed according to date, to the popularity of a source, because the source sponsors paid a fee, or any number of other factors. Just because something is first doesn't mean that it's the best result for your needs.

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