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Instructions for Written Work

Criticism and evaluation of sources


The use of sources requires a critical and comparative approach. The use of sources requires proper skills in evaluating information, the learning of which is one of the key learning goals and elements of professional education and growth. When a source is evaluated, attention is paid to the reliability, scope and importance of the information in question, as well as to its applicability to the evaluator’s own work.

 

It is rather difficult to unequivocally define the attributes of a good and reliable source. When evaluating a source, pay attention at least to the following aspects:

  • The author’s renown and the extent of the author’s scientific work
  • The organisation behind the information (public organisation, company, association, etc.)
  • Publisher’s renown and reputation
  • Interviewee’s expertise and experience
  • Up-to-dateness and modernity of source (although not forgetting the classics)
  • Objectivity (e.g. ideological ties, commercial interests)
  • Origin of information (cf. secondary sources of information)
  • High quality of the bibliography.

The importance of source criticism and of the assessment of the above listed items is emphasized further when using freely available online resources. For example, Wikipedia is not regarded as a reliable source.

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