Source criticism is a method for evaluating whether information is credible, plausible and anchored in reality. There is no cross- safe method for assessing a source's credibility and to implement safe source criticism, but there are a number of criteria that judge from. These you should at least know about.

Out of Context UP

A text literal interpretation may be misleading if the text is written in a completely different context. A context that existed when the text was written but no longer need apply.

Age UP

How old is source? The older the source, the more obsolete and outdated it may be. A context that prevailed when the text was written may no longer apply, so use current sources if possible.

What counts as the current depends on the source type and which area it concerns. In computer science, an article become outdated at some months, while a philosophical primary source be current for several centuries (a secondary source for several decades).

"Generally, an older source more current (if it holds an important theory that the majority of researchers in the field agree) than the sources that intend to evaluate or develop the theory. Assume that no littearute are current or new, assume a critical viewpoint." Booth et al. (1995)

Independent UP

Is the source original? There are several independent sources that can confirm the claim? Remember that social networks like blogs, Twitter and Facebook are often is a playground for rumors and urban legends.

Authenticity UP

Is the source a fake? Be critical to eg Wikipedia. Content on Wikipedia is a collective product, and can be written by anyone. The content is not peer-reviewed.

Trustworthy UP

A source's credibility depends upon, among other things, that:

  • it is impartial (quality assessment and peer review plays a central role)
  • Reliable writer (author's education, occupation, workplace recording)
  • if the publication is published by a known publishing house

Tendentious UP

Sources that have obvious purposes stated and unilaterally expresses particular stance said to constitute biased sources. Examples of bias are...

  • a government or institutions public statement
  • a company selling information about products or services
  • an NGO backed by some financiers

Analysis of trend applies not only to facts but also to explanations. What is written does not need to be a direct lie. To hide certain material can also be interpreted as bias.