JUS 103 - Foundations of Criminal Justice

A guide to finding sources for your final paper assignment.

This is a summary of information from Upson, Matt, et al. Information Now: a Graphic Guide to Student Research. University of Chicago Press, 2015. 82-88.

Evaluation is an ongoing process (82).
Evaluating information isn't important just for school research (82).
Being an active and effective citizen requires you to be informed (82).

1. Who is responsible? (83)

  • Who produced it, sponsored it, and/or published it? What organization is responsible for publishing it (in print or online)?
  • Who is the author?
  • Do the author and/or publisher have the authority to produce information on a given topic? 

2. Who is the information for? Who is the audience?

  • Knowing a source's target audience helps determine whether or not the source will be appropriate for your research.
  • Is the language too dense for you to use effectively?  Is it too simple and offers only a basic discussion?
  • What is the scope of the source? Again, is it too basic or too advanced?

3. Why was this created? What is its purpose? (86)

  • Who is this meant to impact or influence?
  • This will help understand how the author addresses the topic.  “The purpose of a course can change how we view and use it” (86).
  • Is it meant to persuade?  Is it meant to sell?  Is it meant as comedy or satire?  Or is its purpose to inform?

4. Is the information correct and dependable? (87)

  • “Is it of high quality? [misspellings, etc.]
  • Is it objective?”
  • Is it complete?
  • If the publication has a peer-review process, it should be okay.

5. Are there references?

  • Also, has this been cited elsewhere?

6. Objectivity (87)

  • Again, what is the purpose?
  • Does it seem “biased, one-sided, or heavy on opinion?” Be wary.
  • Does it give both side of a multi-sided issue?

7. Currency (88)

  • If you need current information, is it?

8. MOST IMPORTANTLY: “does it contribute to your work? Is it something you can use for your research, or is it better left out” (88)?

Check out this Research Guide from the City University of New York's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.
"As a journalist skepticism is your job. As a citizen skepticism is a survival skill."

Use the tabs to learn more about:

  • Fact-Checking
  • Social Media Verification
  • Fake News
  • Fake News Checklists
  • Solutions to Misinformation

FactCheck.org is a nonprofit website that describes itself as a non-partisan "'consumer advocate' for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics". It is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation. Most of its content consists of rebuttals to what it considers inaccurate, misleading, or false claims by politicians. Other features include:

Also see the Wikipedia article on FactCheck.org for more resources.

Anyone can publish information on the Internet, so make sure to properly evaluate information before you use it in your research paper.  For more help with evaluating resources, check out:

From Meriam Library, California State University, Chico: CRAAP Test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose) 

From the University of Maine system: Evaluating Books, Articles, & Websites

From the University of Maine at Farmington: Evaluating Information Sources

From Cornell University: Evaluating Websites

How do I tell the difference between scholarly articles, popular articles, and trade articles?

From the University of Maine at Farmington: Guide to identifying scholarly sources



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