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Principles of Microeconomics: Websites

How to research your market failure paper; plus APA help

Evaluating Websites

When using websites for your college research, it is especially important to critically evalutate your sources. It may help to think like a reporter and ask yourself Who, What, Why, When, and Where?

Who wrote it? What authority does this person or organization have to speak on this topic? Are they open about who they are? Is there name or affiliation available?

What are they saying? How reliable is this information? Is it backed up with facts, research, citations? How does it compare with other things you have read on the topic?

Why are they writing this? Is the information objective or is there any evident bias? Are they attempting to influence you to take some particular action (i.e., buy something, vote a particular way, etc)? Some bias is obvious, some is subtle. Not all bias is inherently bad, but you need to be able to identify it so that you can ask important questions about what they may not be saying and seek out further information that they may not provide.

When was it written? Is the information current? Remember, "old" is a relative term here depending on your topic and how fast things change in that area. News may become old in days or weeks, the latest discoveries in genetics may be old in a couple of years, an essay on a historical topic or piece of literature may have a shelf life of decades.

Where does this fit into my paper? Even a book or article that is current, authoritative, reliable and unbiased may not be the best choice for you if it simply fails to address your research question.

Some Reputable News Sources

There are other reputable sites too, but make sure that you use the Evaluating Websites criteria to the left and be on the lookout for biased news sites.