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Kinesiology: Evaluating Sources

Should I Use This Source?

After you find a source, you still need to decide whether you want to use it in your assignment. Ask yourself the following questions before you commit to reading a full book or article:

 How current is the source? If your topic requires up to date information, you need to pay careful attention to the date of publication.

  • Articles - Check the date of the journal (in the database where you found the article or at the top or bottom of the full text article)
  • Books - Check the copyright date (in the catalog, or on the back of the title page)
  • Websites - Check for "Last Updated" on web pages or for a "Posted" date at the beginning or end of online articles and blog posts

‚Äč How relevant is the source? Does the information actually fit your topic or would you be forcing it to work? Quickly read these sections to determine this:

  • Articles - Abstract, Introduction, Conclusion
  • Books - Scan the index for your topic, the table of contents, or the first and last paragraphs of chapters which seem useful

 Who is the author? Look for a brief biography of the person or a description of the organization. Most scholarly articles will simply identify the universities where the authors work.

  • Can you determine who is the creator or author?
  • What are the credentials (education, affiliation, expertise)?
  • Is the publisher or sponsor reputable?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?
  • Are there advertisements on the website?

 How accurate is the source? Are they citing their sources? Look for bibliographies or footnotes. On websites there may also be links to their sources - dead links are a bad sign.

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion? 
  • Is it balanced or biased?
  • Is there a Bibliography? In other words, does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

 What is the purpose/point of view of the article? 

  • What's the intent of the article? (to persuade you, to sell you something?)
  • For web resources, what is the domain? (.com .edu, .gov?) How might this influence the purpose or point of view?
  • For web resources, are there ads on the webpage? How do they related to the topic of the web resource? (for example an ad for ammunition next to an article on firearm legislation or against gun control)
  • Is the author presenting fact or opinion?


Levels of Evidence

Start at the top of the pyramid for the most reliable evidence, keeping in mind that research may not yet exist or may not be feasible for some questions