How can I tell a good source from a bad source?
 
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How can I tell a good source from a bad source?


Do some research on the author.  Look at the information on the dust jacket of the book.  Is the author affiliated with a university?  A university professor is typically an author you can trust.  Has the author published on this general topic before?  Emeril Lagassi is a great chef and the author of many books, but if he writes a book on the history of the Renaissance, stay away. 


Politicians and pundits are likewise bad sources because the bulk of what they say is biased one way or another, and the "facts" they present are often misleading, inaccurate, or just plain untrue (this goes for all political persuasions).


T
he internet is not off-limits, but should be used with caution.  University websites are good sources, but Wikipedia (written by anonymous users) is not.  Try to find the name of the author of a webpage.  Check credentials.  Verify information.  If you find yourself drawn to Wikipedia, try looking at the sources listed in the footnotes.  You might not be able to use Wikipedia for information, but you can use the same sources that Wikipedia used (so long as they are reputable). 


A
nd with the internet, remember to use the full web address in your citation, not just the name of the site (e.g., https://www.studenthandouts.com/citations instead of just https://www.studenthandouts.com).   The reader needs to be able to type in the web address you've given and be led straight to the page where you got your information.


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