Purpose

Why? As a child, I asked this question a lot! As a researcher I also need to ask why with every source I locate. More specifically, I need to ask: Why did the author write this?

One of the most important things to watch out for is bias. Some sources try to eliminate bias from their articles. Other sources, like opinion pieces or editorials, are always biased. I can tell bias when a writer's opinions lead them to use facts to support their point of view and persuade their readers to take their side of the argument or claim.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective or impartial?
  • Are these political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

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