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Evaluating Sources of Information
In the world of click-bait articles, nutrition gurus and other sources of fraudulent nutrition information,
how does one determine what is nutrition fact from fiction? How do you know good sources vs. bad
For this assignment you will evaluate three (3) sources of nutrition information to determine if they are
good sources or not on a nutrition topic of your interest.
• You must include at least one publication and one website and they should each come from different
sections/categories (Coalitions, Professional, Consumer, etc).
• You must provide a written summary and evaluation for each source. Evaluations must include the following
criteria and information outlined below
• You will be graded on thoroughness of evaluation, attention to detail, well organized writing structure,
and ease of reading.
1. What is your Interest in the source?
• What is the source?
• Why did you chose this particular source of information? How did you find it?
• What were you expecting when you found this source? Did the source fulfill your preconceived ideas and
expectations, or was it different than expected?
2. What is the AUTHORITY of the source?
• Who is the author?
• What else has the author written?
• In which communities and contexts does the author have expertise?
o What are their credentials? Are they appropriate for information they provide?
o Do they have a formal role in a particular institution (e.g. a professor at Oxford)?
• Does the author disclose any conflict of interests (COI)?
3. What is the PURPOSE?
• Why was this source created?
o Does it have an economic value for the author or publisher?
o Is it an educational resource? Persuasive?
What (research) questions does it attempt to answer?
Does it strive to be objective?
o Does it fill any other personal, professional, or societal needs?
• Who is the intended audience?
o Is it for scholars?
o Is it for a general audience?
4. What is the PUBLICATION & FORMAT of the source?
• Where was it published?
o Was it published in a scholarly publication, such as an academic journal?
o If a website, is the domain preferred (.edu, .gov, .org, or .net)?
o Was it formally peer-reviewed?
N F S 2 3 4 3 S u m m e r 2 0 2 0 P a g e | 2
• Does the publication have a particular editorial position?
o Is it generally thought to be a conservative or progressive outlet?
o Is the publication sponsored by any other companies or organizations? Do the sponsors have
• Were there any apparent barriers to publication?
o Was it self-published?
o Were there outside editors or reviewers?
• Does it provide information with limited advertising?
o Is it objective in presenting the information?
• Where, geographically, was it originally published, and in what language?
• In what medium?
o Was it published online or in print? Both?
o Is it a blog post? A YouTube video? A TV episode? An article from a print magazine?
o What does the medium tell you about the intended audience?
o What does the medium tell you about the purpose of the piece?
5. What is the Relevance and COVERAGE?
• What is the scope of coverage?
o Is it a general overview or an in-depth analysis?
o What information needs does the scope provide?
o Which time period and geographic region would the information be relevant?
6. Is the source CURRENT?
• When was the source first published?
• What version or edition of the source are you consulting?
o Are there differences in editions, such as new introductions or footnotes?
o If the publication is online, when was it last updated? Are the links up-to-date and active?
7. Is the information ACCURATE?
• Did they cite their sources?
o If not, do you have any other means to verify the reliability of their claims?
• Who do they cite?
o Is the author affiliated with any of the authors they’re citing?
o Are the cited authors part of a particular academic movement or school of thought?
• Look closely at the quotations and paraphrases from other sources:
o Did they appropriately represent the context of their cited sources?
o Did they ignore any important elements from their cited sources?
o Are they cherry-picking facts to support their own arguments?
o Did they appropriately cite ideas that were not their own?
8. Overall Evaluation:
• Do you feel this media source is of value and reliable?
• What are the potential sources of bias within this media source (if any)?
• What is something new you learned by exploring and evaluating this media source?
Adapted from: http://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/c.php?g=83917&p=539735
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