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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

POL 4190 The Senior Seminar Research Guide

Fall 2018

Evaluating Information

When evaluating sources, ask yourself these critical questions:


  • Who wrote this source? 
  • Do they have any relevant expertise, credentials, or experience?  
  • Do they have connections to groups/interests that might indicate bias? Look for potential conflicts of interest and remember that expertise ≠ bias. 

Point of view:

  • What is the author’s viewpoint on this topic? 
  • How does it relate to your point of view?


  • What audience(s) is this article intended for?


  • What evidence does the author use to support their viewpoint (e.g. research data, interviews with experts, opinions, anecodotes)? 
  • Is it convincing? 

What’s missing?

  • What is missing from this source (e.g. perspectives, data, background information)? 
  • What kinds of additional information would be helpful to have in order to learn more about this topic?


  • How will you use this source in your research? (e.g., find links to more sources, get background information, make a counterargument, use to support your arguments)