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Syracuse University Libraries

Human Development & Family Science

Questions you should ask of every source you find


  • What is the publication/creation date?
  • Does this time period meet your information need?
  • When was the last update?
  • Are all the links up-to-date ( for web resources)?


  • Who is the author?  What are her/his credentials?
  • Has the author been cited in other sources?
  • Who is publishing this information (individual, non-profit organization, commercial)?


  • Do other sources contain the same information?
  • Is evidence given to support the information?
  • Are other sources cited?
  • Is the source or website edited, (for web resources) when was it last updated; does it contain typographical errors?


  • Who is the intended audience (students, researchers, trades people, children, adults)?
  • Is this source appropriate for your needs and understanding of the topic?

Point of View (Bias)

  • Does the source present the information from a particular bias or single viewpoint?
  • Does the source contain assumptions not backed by research?
  • Does the sponsoring organization or site have a stake in how information is presented?
  • Does the information contain advertising?

News as an Information Format

News sources are invaluable as a discovery tool! As an information source, news is current, quickly written, sometimes has an editorial process (for fact checking and content presentation), can be primary or secondary, can be biased, and is not always accurate. You will need to read around a topic using several sources to corroborate the evidence in what you're reading. It captures the conversation around an event or topic in our communities and professions, often pointing to original source material, policies, and organizations that can be used as clues to further your research. There are many avenues by which we absorb the news. Some are freely accessible and others are fee-based. Here are a few to get you started.

Caution: Be critical. Evaluate what you're reading!

News Feeds

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News Databases

National Newspapers - utilizing the databases to search on a topic across several news titles/sources
National Newspapers - browsing the latest (today's) articles
Local Syracuse Newspaper Archive
State and Federal: what's happening right now in New York legislature and DC
Specialized News Databases