Assessment #11: Investigating Your Sources

For  ONE source you’ve chosen—and it can be anything that relates to your final research essay topic—complete the following questionnaire.  It’s important to note that not all of these answers may prove directly helpful to actually drafting the essay.  Instead, you’re brainstorming possible content for that essay, and then picking what seems to be the most important features about your source from this initial exploration.

Source Evaluation Questionnaire

Title of Source:

How you found it:

  1. Who wrote/presented this information?  (If not an individual, who is responsible for publishing it?)  Do a websearch on this individual or group.  What do you learn?
  2. Where was this source published or made available?  What other types of articles, etc., does this publication have on offer?
  3. Note one particular fact or bit of data that is included, here.  Try to verify this fact by checking other sources.  What do you learn?
  4. Does the author seem to have any bias?  In what way?  Why do you suspect this? (Review the Understanding Bias page to help.)
  5. Does the source publication have any bias?  In what way?  Why do you suspect this?
  6. What is this source’s thesis or prevailing idea?
  7. How does this source promote this main idea?  In other words, how does it support its argument?
  8. What does this source’s primary audience seem to be?  How do you know?
  9. What is its primary rhetorical mode (logic, emotion, ethics)?
  10. Does this source support, oppose, or remain neutral on your own essay thesis?