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Evaluating Sources

A guide describing various ways to evaluate sources to ensure they are credible and reliable.


Finding sources is only the first step. After finding sources, you must choose which sources best inform your participation in the conversation. There are several questions to keep in mind to help you choose sources to use. One set of questions is called ACT UP.

A-Who is the Author? What is their background and expertise?

C-How current is this source? Has new information been published since this was written?

T-How accurate and truthful is this information? Can the information be verified in three other sources? 

U-Is this information unbiased? Is the information presented in a way to persuade the reader to a particular viewpoint? Does the author have a conflict of interest? A group membership or funding source may need to be acknowledged. Note that bias is not bad but needs to be noted as a factor in how information is presented and what sources the author chose to use.

P-Is this information privileged in some way? Who is being left out or overlooked in this conversation? Where can you find information that includes other points of view?

ACT UP was developed by Dawn Strahura at Simmons College