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Date Submitted: 11/17/2012 09:29 AM

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1. Think about how reliable you need the information to be. Everyone has different standards for credibility, and often this depends on how the information is going to be applied. If you're writing an academic paper in a university setting, for example, you need to be especially strict about sources. If you're looking for information on how to unclog your toilet, a comprehensive Internet search might suffice. If your project falls somewhere in the middle, such as if you're making a presentation at work or creating a website, it's important to evaluate sources and make a judgment call as to whether you should include the information and if so, how it should be presented. Consider the medium with which you are working.

2.Consider the medium with which you are working.Generally, the more that is invested into the creation and publishing of the material, the more likely you are to find reliable information. For example, printed material has a higher cost of production than an Internet blog, which anyone can publish for free.A peer-reviewed journal is considered a reliable source because each article must undergo a rigorous review process, with many professional reviewers involved. Peer-review does not necessarily indicate that the other field expert reviewers are in agreement with the conclusions of the original writer. Peer-reviewers examine accuracy of factual information, rigor of experimental process, and respond with questions and critique of any conclusion made. They may disagree with the writer in question, but they agree that the foundation of the article is based on top-notch thinking in the field.This is not to say that you should completely avoid Internet sources (a blog published by a distinguished scientist commenting on a study could be useful) nor should you immediately trust a well-researched publication (material sponsored by large corporations, for example, can be highly biased). Take everything with a grain of salt.

3.Research the author. A...