Source criticism

The check-off list below contains some questions that can be used as a firsthand critical assessment of the sources you have found. It can be used on both printed materials as well as information that you have found on the internet.

1. Who is the author?

  • Does it say who has created the website?
  • Is it a person, an organization, a firm, or an institution?
  • Who is the author of the text? What is the author’s background?
  • Is there an email address or a contact address on the originator?

2. Of what quality is the material?

  • What is the degree of specialist competence?
  • Is the information documented by the use of citations or similar?
  • Do other sources state the same?
  • Is the information thorough?
  • Is the information updated? – How old is the article/book/website?

3. What is the purpose of the material?

  • Does the author (person/organization) of the material have special interests and is the material written on the base of these?
  • What kind of interests drives the selection and perspective of the material?    

4. Who is the target audience?

  •  Is it a ”broad” presentation/statement  - or is it specific/narrow?
  •  Is it an academic approach – or is it a more popular argument?

Watch the Danish libraries’ film ”Spot Fake News" (in Danish)