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BIZ 1201: Ethical Leadership

The 5 Ws

Additional Information on the 5 Ws

Evaluating sources is a critical part of doing research!

There are many different approaches to evaluating sources, both traditional print books/journals and websites. They generally use similar criteria. I prefer using the 5 Ws:

  • Who
  • What 
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

Based on Kathy Schrock’s 5 W's of Web Site Evaluation     http://www.schrockguide.net/information-literacy.html

who is the author? ask: is the author listed? what

Tip: Is this information published by an organization or company? If there is no other author listed, consider the organization/company to be the author.

evaluating sources: what is the purpose of the source? ask: is the information accurate and free of bias? does the author provide a list of sources? [picture of referee] look for: "about" page, inflammatory language

evaluating sources: when was this published? ask: is this source current enough for your topic? Has it been updated? [picture of old rotary phones; picture of rusty old car] look for: date of publication or last update, usually found at the bottom of the page; current links to outside sources

evaluating sources: where is this source coming from? ask: who produces the website? where can I find more information about the sponsors or publishers? [image of map, image of figure with spyglass] look for: domain name can help you identify government and educational institution sites (.gov and .edu); "about" page, but you should also look at outside sources to learn more

evaluating sources: Why? The most important question when evaluating sources is WHY. Why are you using this source? Does it add something new to your argument? Does it seem like a quality source based on who, what, when, and where? [images of question marks] [image of figure scratching head]