Evaluating Sources






slanted language



biased tone


preconceived ideas


valid argument

sound argument

Toulmin Logic

logical fallacies (flawed logic)


Finding a source for information whether it is for a research paper or for our own purposes requires more than just finding a source with information on the general topic. Finding a source requires critical evaluation of the source.

credibility – believability; is the source created by a person or organization that knows about the subject matter. Determining credibility of online sources can be a challenge since it is not always clear who created or published what we are looking at.

facts – the truth; information based on evidence

factual – whether the information true and accurate

opinion – a personal evaluation; not necessarily based on specific, accurate, or credible evidence

evidence – the supporting information used such as examples, statistics, descriptions, comparisons, and illustrations; also called proof, support, or supporting evidence. See Evidence and Logic.

slanted language – sometimes difficult to detect, slanted language shows a bias or preference for one position over another

tone – the use of words to create a feeling such as a happy tone or sarcastic tone or angry tone

bias – the preference for one position over another

biased tone – the use of words to promote a preference one position over another

stereotype – the generalization that a person or situation in a certain category has certain attributes such as because a person is old, he or she is a bad drive

preconceived ideas – ideas that we already have; in doing research, it is very important to look for sources that present all of the perspectives on a question, not just those that prove what we think we know

logic – evidence should be evaluated for logic; does the evidence have any logical fallacies. See Evidence and Logic.

valid argument – an argument which is based on logical analysis of information; not necessarily true

sound argument – an argument based on a syllogism that has accurate major and minor premises

Toulmin Logic – a form of logic that uses claim, grounds, and warrant for analyzing the logic of an argumentlogical fallacies (flawed logic) – faulty logic; includes sweeping generalization, argument to the person (ad hominem), non sequitur, either/or fallacy, begging the question, and bandwagon argument.