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POL 260 - Intro to International Relations: Home

How to Critically Evaluate Sources

Be persistent when researching a topic

Read your sources critically

When researching:

  • Search in multiple places (ex. popular sources, news sources, professional sources, scholarly sources)
  • Seek diverse voices
  • Search using multiple search terms, that you adapt as you learn more details about your topic
  • Make the goal of your search to:
    • Find supporting evidence
    • Find information that extends your knowledge / understanding
    • Find opposing viewpoints

Be critical of the source. Ask:

  • Who is the author? Are they an expert? Someone with a lived experience? Who is the publisher? Are they reputable? Biased?
  • What is their purpose to write this? To inform? Educate? Persuade? Sell?
  • Is this information current or published in a time-frame that makes it relevant to my needs?

Think critically about the information in the source. Ask:

  • What claim/argument is the author is making? What is the central idea of this source?
  • What evidence does the author use to support their argument? Is it personal/lived experience? Statistical/numerical? Observed? Experimental and reproducible? How is it valuable for your information needs?
  • What perspectives are dominant? (Ex. Is this Eurocentric? Gender focused?) What perspectives are missing?
  • Can I use the findings/conclusions to predict outcomes in related areas?
  • How can I connect the information/ideas in this source to other sources to create a conversation between them?


International News and other Primary Sources

Policy Briefs

Peer Reviewed Sources

Databases of Scholarly Articles


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Karoline Manny
Karoline Manny
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