Who is presenting this information, and what are their related qualifications? Is there an individual author listed, or is the information coming from a group or organization? If an individual author is listed, can you determine if they have relevant education and experience? Can you verify his/her qualifications? If a group/organization authored the material, who are they? Are they a nationally recognized group? How long have they been around?
What is the purpose of this web site? Is it designed to present factual information as a public service, or is its purpose to persuade readers to adopt a particular viewpoint? Does it exist to make a profit? Put biased information into context (“According to the National Rifle Association, gun control fails in its fundamental purpose.”) and be sure to double-check statistics and “facts” from biased sights against reliable, non-biased sources.
Is the material current enough to support your research?
A primary source...
· Is a thread of information that when pieced together with other primary sources form the fabric known as history.
· Is anything written or produced by those who participated in or witnessed an event firsthand.
· May take the form of “eyewitness accounts, decrees, letters and diaries, newspapers and magazines, speeches, autobiographies, and treatises.”
· May include non-traditional sources such as coins, jewelry, films, art, music, oral testimony, and others sources of information.
A secondary source...
· Offers a second-hand interpretation of an event or person, and usually takes the form of scholarly writing.
· Provides an overview that allows researchers to understand “how other historians” have interpreted an event.
· Provides the reader with a bibliographic guide to primary and secondary sources.
Thousands of books and articles exist about any given topic. Not all of them are as useful as others. In order to determine whether a source is useful for your research, you must first review the source based on the following criteria: