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BA 324 - Business Communication

Evaluating Sources


 Trustworthy, reliable.

Credible sources are generally understood to be accurate and reliable sources of information, free from unfair bias.  See the evaluation criteria below for help with determining credibility.

Inclination, leaning, prejudice, predisposition

A biased source is one in which the creator has a view of the issue at hand that had an effect on how they created the source. From the synonyms above, you can see that this can be to a small or large degree. Everyone has biases, and someone with a bias can still write a worthwhile source, but it is up to you to consider how much of a bias is present. Be aware of the biases inherent when an organization has a legislative agenda or is trying to sell something. 

Peer review is a process scholarly articles go through before they are published. Scholarly articles are sent to other experts in the field (peers) to ensure that they contain high-quality, original research important to the field. This is a measure of quality control other types of literature don't go through. 


If you can't tell whether or not a journal is peer-reviewed, check Ulrichsweb.

  1. access the database
  2. type in the title of the journal
  3. peer-reviewed journals will have a referee jersey ("refereed" is another term for "peer-reviewed") - example below


When will different types of resources cover your topic?

The Day of an Event

  • Television, Social Media, and the Web

The Day After an Event

  • Newspapers

The Week or Weeks After an Event

  • Weekly Popular Magazines and New Magazines

Six Months to a Year or More After an Event

  • Academic, Scholarly Journals

A Year to Years After an Event

  • Books
  • Government Reports

When searching for academic articles, be aware that many academic journals contain case studies, news, option pieces, book reviews and other non-peer reviewed material.  Each article should be evaluated on its own merits.

Evaluate every source before using it in your paper:

  • Authority:

    • Who wrote this?
    • Do they have credentials or a reputation in the field?
    • Should I be using them as a source of information?
  • Content:

    • Is the information relevant?
    • Is this information current enough?
    • Is the information accurate?
    • Is there documentation or evidence?
  • Purpose:

    • Is there a bias or agenda?
    • Who is the audience?

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