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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

German 201

Thought Process

How are you going to evaluate what you find?

Authority - Who wrote it or who is responsible for it? Why should I care what they think?

Try to find the official website for the city, event, place, etc. If you aren't positive it's the official one, verify against other resources, such as a  reference in Wikipedia.

Try to use sources that have gone through an editorial process, such as local newspapers.

For websites in general, determine who bears the most responsibility for the information: the individual author or the organization. It's usually more important to judge the authority of the organization who published the information on their website, rather than the individual(s) who wrote it.

  • Look for "über uns" or equivalent tab or link. Normally if the website does not have "About Us" information on their site, you should think about dismissing the website. (Try looking at the top or the bottom footer on the homepage.) If they want to be taken seriously in this day and age, they will be upfront about who they are and the purpose of their website. Why should anyone value their viewpoint? But there is a big exception to this, and that is very well known news sources (at least to Germans) may not bother, because they assume everyone already knows who they are. 
  • What do others think? Google the name of the organization. See what others are saying about them. What are the odds there isn't a Wikipedia entry about an organization that has worthwhile information to share?

Trustworthiness - Is the information sound? How does it compare with other sources?

This is an important criterion to judge your source. But it is the one that takes the most time, because you have to read over various sources to know enough about your issue to judge the soundness.

If it is a major city, event, etc. that you are researching, we may have a published encyclopedia entry on it (though in English). See the tab Background Info for suggestions.