When evaluating a source, consider the truthfulness and correctness of the content. The Meriam Library again suggests a few basic questions you should consider when trying to determine a source’s level of accuracy:
Is the information supported by evidence?
Just as your assignments within this course require you to support your thesis statement with supporting details, so too should you require it of the source material you are planning to draw from. If the source material you are reviewing cannot hold up to the same review your own writing will be under, it probably isn’t a good idea to use it in your essay.
Does the language or tone seem unbiased (neutral or without opinion) and free of emotion?
This particular question is an important one to consider when writing an essay. If the purpose of that essay is to “inform,” sources with the same purpose of “informing” would obviously be the better choice. If you draw from sources that are biased and emotion-filled, it will be much harder for you to maintain an unbiased tone that is free of emotion. On the other hand, if the purpose of your essay is to “persuade,” it might be better to draw from source material and writers that share your same opinion or stance on your chosen topic. In short, do what you can to find source material that matches the tone and purpose you wish to present to your reader.
Ponder and Record
- What steps can you take to ensure that the information you are citing is accurate considering the topic you have selected as well as the audience you are trying to reach?
Need More Help?
- Study other Writing Lessons in the Resource Center.
- Visit the Online Tutoring Resources in the Resource Center.
- Contact your Instructor.
- If you still need help, Schedule a Tutor.