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iRubric: Evaluating Sources rubric

iRubric: Evaluating Sources rubric

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Questions to ask about the information source you're thinking of using.

Powered by iRubric Evaluating Information Sources
Questions to ask about the information source you are thinking of using
  Poor or Unknown
0 pts Low quality, unreliable.
Fair
1 pts Medium quality and reliability, or has both good and bad aspects.
Good
2 pts High quality, reliable.
Timeliness/Currency
2 pts
How recent or up-to-date is its content? (and how important is that to you?)
Poor or Unknown

Information is out of date. New information has either contradicted it, changed or added to it. Old-fashioned biases and bigotry.
Fair

Information is older but hasn't been contradicted or substantially changed or added to since it was published. (This rarely happens in the sciences but is somewhat common in the social sciences and very common in the humanities.)
Good

Information is as current as it can get. Less than 2 years old for sciences. Less than 5 years old for social sciences and humanities.
Purpose
2 pts
What is the intended purpose? (Think educate/inform, sell something, entertain, change minds/behavior, even propaganda/hate speech)
Poor or Unknown

Purpose is to entertain, sell you something, or persuade you and they have used sketchy techniques like deception, emotional manipulation, logical fallacies, weasel words, loaded language, etc. May try to look like an informational/educational purpose but is actually propaganda.
Fair

Purpose is to entertain, sell you something or persuade you but no sketchy techniques are used, and information is provided that can be verified from external sources.
Good

Purpose is to inform or educate.
Audience
2 pts
Is the target audience appropriate for your use? (Think age group, educational level)
Poor or Unknown

Target audience is children or a group of people who all share the same ideology.
Fair

Target audience is non-experts.
Good

Target audience is fellow experts, scholars and students in the subject area.
Agenda
2 pts
What, if any, ideological slant did the author write for?
Poor or Unknown

Tries to conceal actual agenda. Hate groups, conspiracy theorists, denialist groups.
Fair

Transparency, but there is a religious, political, or other ideological point of view.
Good

Transparency. No ideological slant to the information source. However, there may be influenced by cultural or disciplinary paradigms and schemata.
Authority
2 pts
Who is the creator of the information source, and what kind of expertise and experience do they have?
Poor or Unknown

Creator has no academic background in the subject and no work experience in the subject. Doesn't appear to have done their research either.
Fair

Creator may not have any academic or career background in the subject but has obviously educated themself thoroughly. May be an amateur expert or a student.
Good

Creator has a PhD in the subject from an accredited institution, publications on the subject in reputable journals or from reputable publishers, has a job working in the field at a reputable organization.
Type of publisher
2 pts
Is this a formal publisher with a reputation to uphold?
Poor or Unknown

Self-published, vanity press, personal web site or blog
Fair

Information put out by an organization, but not a publisher. For example, a government agency, corporation, or non-profit organization.
Good

Book publisher, newspaper, magazine, etc.
Quality control?
2 pts
What kinds of quality control has the information source been through?
Poor or Unknown

No quality control that can be determined.
Fair

Editing, such as done by a newspaper, magazine, commercial book publisher.
Good

Peer review, and/or found in an academic library's collection.
Logical Fallacies
2 pts
Are there any logical fallacies? Check http://logicalfallacies.info
Poor or Unknown

Logical fallacies can be found. (It is helpful to note them down.)
Fair

Minor logical fallacies, such as something that might be construed as slippery slope. But there is room to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Good

No logical fallacies can be found.
Research Methods
2 pts
Did the information source gain its information using appropriate means?
Poor or Unknown

Humanities research not based on primary sources, or they are irrelevant, misinterpreted, or faked. Social sciences and sciences research uses bad study design, like not controlling for variables or not selecting a sample that represents the population.
Fair

Possibly questionable use of primary sources, such as interpreting a document in a radically different way from other authorities. Possibly questionable research methods, such as a sample that isn't representative or a variable that isn't controlled for, but they address those problems in the paper.
Good

Humanities research based on real primary sources. Sciences and social sciences research is based on well-designed experiments/observations.
Accuracy
2 pts
Are the facts correct?
Poor or Unknown

Lies and errors.
Fair

Some minor aspects may be called into question by other sources. The inconsistencies do not affect the usefulness of those facts for your research purposes.
Good

Facts in the information source match what can be found in other information sources or by real world testing.



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