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Primary and Secondary Scientific Sources: Comparing & Verifying Sources

Issues to consider

When looking at your sources, keep these questions about the author or publisher in mind:

Comparing information to other sources also helps you verify data, opinions, or historical occurrences. If there is general agreement between various sources (like scholarly sources, web sites, and books), then you can have confidence that the information is of high quality.

When evaluating sources for relevance and quality, keep these four things in mind:

1. Use sources that are likely to have the type of information you are seeking.

2. Start with quality resources like the ones selected by Library subject specialists.

3. Compare your information with other sources so that you can judge its relevance.

4. Use your comparisons to verify information so that you can have confidence in your sources.

  • Is this a news article or an editorial?
  • Is the author an expert on the subject?
  • Does the author/publisher have a bias or an agenda?
  • Does the author give evidence for the content of the article? Can you find the information in other information sources?
  • Do other information sources agree with the author or publisher?