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Research Guide for International Studies
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U.S. Foreign Policy
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The SMELL Test
Who is providing the information?
Why are they telling me this?
What evidence is provided for generalizations?
Do the facts logically compel the conclusions?
What’s missing that might change our interpretation of the information?
The SIFT Method
Evaluating Usefulness Handout
General information or factual evidence used to provide context.
Material to analyze or interpret. It may support or contradict your thesis or research question.
Material that offers a critical assesment or makes a claim you would like to engage with.
Evaluating Sources: a Checklist
Who wrote the source?
What are the author’s qualifications?
Is a printed source from a reputable publisher?
Is a web-based source from a reputable site such as a well-known
Is the source sufficiently current?
Is the source sufficiently complete?
What is the purpose of the source?
Who is its intended audience?
Is the source scholarly or popular?
Which type of source do you need?
Does the source present evidence to support its conclusions?
Is the source biased?
Can you still use it?
Evaluating Sources: Links
Evaluating Web Pages. University of California, Berkeley.
Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages. Cornell University Library.
Thinking Critically about the Web. UCLA College Library
A reverse image search you can use to see where else images have appeared online.
Reverse Image Search Google
Reverse image search to see what stories and websites an image has appeared in.
May 8, 2023 3:29 PM
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