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AS 498: Ancient Studies Comprehensive Exam

Ask these questions.

Currency: Is it timely? Is the information current or outdated? What is the publication date? How timely should a source be given your topic area? Arts and humanities research tends to use secondary sources from a wider range of publication dates than scientific research commonly does.

Relevance: Is it important? Is this source appropriate for your topic? Who is the intended audience?  Are you comfortable citing this?

Authority (Reliability): Is it credible Who is the publisher or sponsor of the source?  Is the source from an academic press or internet source?  Who is the author? What is the author's educational background?  Are they qualified to write about the topic? Does the author have a history of publishing about this topic?

Access: Is it close to the source? Is this a primary or secondary source?  How close are the authors to the original data/information/event being discussed? If the text is a translation of the primary source, is the translator cited? Is the translation authoritative and respected?

Accuracy: Is it reliable? What evidence is available to support claims? What is the quality of evidence? Do they cite peer-reviewed journals? Can claims be proven by other sources?  What type of reasoning is used? Is it written objectively?

Audience Is the resource intended for the general public, scholars, professionals, etc.

Purpose: Why does it exist? Is the information covered fact, opinion, or propaganda? Facts can be verified. Opinions evolve from the interpretation of facts. Are the author's facts supported with references? Is the information covered fact, opinion, or propaganda? 

Evaluate Websites

Anyone can publish anything of the web. Always evaluate web pages whether or not they are for a research project. Use the questions listed above, but don't forget to consider the following:

  • Is the grammar and spelling correct?
  • Is the site regularly updated? Can you find a date for its last update?
  • Are the links included valid and up to date?
  • Is the site well structured, easy to navigate?
  • Is the information for the general reader, K-12 students, for an academic or professional audience? it is the level you want to site in an academic assignment?
  • Is it possible to contact the author or organization that maintains the site?