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PSYC 100: Foundations of Psychology (HC) Fall 2017

Psychology 100: Foundations of Psychology (Gordon, Kelly)

Evaluate Sources with Your A, B, C, Ds!

  • A = Author and accuracy
    • Who wrote or otherwise created the material? Is s/he an expert in the field? What are his or her credentials? Does s/he work for an organization? Is it reliable? 
    • Are there any glaring factual errors? Grammatical or spelling errors?
  • B = Bias
    • People create materials for various reasons: to provide information, to push an opinion, to sell something, or just to be funny, to name a few. What is the purpose of this material, and does that tell you anything about possible bias? Does the author present a balanced point of view? Are there any obvious conflicts of interest? Is the tone objective, or is it emotional?
    • Recognize your own bias, too! Do you believe what you're seeing/hearing/reading simply because you want to? Because it fits in with your preconceived notions?
  • C = Currency, coverage, and credibility
    • How current is the material? What is an acceptable date range for your topic area?
    • Is coverage of the topic in depth, or is it shallow? Does information seem to be missing?
    • For research studies, is the methodology sound? What does that say about the credibility of the findings?
  • D = Documentation and duplication
    • Does the author cite his or her sources? Are they credible? 
    • Can you find the same information in any other source? If you read it first on social media, can you also find it on the news or in a journal article? If research findings, have they been replicated?

Healthy skepticism is a good thing.

If you can't answer these questions, investigate!

You must determine what is appropriate for your topic area or assignment.